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industry partners was crucial to providing the
input necessary to create the program and
design the curriculum. Industry
representatives were from hospitals, medical
practices and nursing homes.
A steering committee of MCC faculty, staff
and administrators led by Phil Sisson, Vice
President of Academic Affairs and Provost,
and Lois Alves, Vice President of Enrollment
Services, Research & Planning came
together to determine how best to
implement the AHP programs and provide
opportunities for students to gain entry into
the health care field. "We were pushing the
envelope by offering alternative scheduling
at nontraditional times and in an
abbreviated eight-week format, rather than a
traditional 15-week semester. We also offered
opportunities for people who might not be
able to access our more traditional health
care programs, which have selective
admissions," said Sweeney.
The AHP certificate programs not only
provide training for entry-level jobs, but also
are eligible for college credits. These credits
can be applied later to an MCC degree
program, because the AHP programs include
core academic offerings, in addition to skills
training. "There is tremendous growth
potential in these fields," said Joan Ladik,
AHP Program Coordinator. "The U.S.
Department of Labor projects an 18 percent
increase in jobs in these health care areas
through 2018."
Each AHP program runs for 27 weeks.
Students take two courses (six credits) for
eight weeks with a one-week exam period,
two evenings per week and on Saturdays, for
three consecutive sessions. In Level I AHP
courses, students study the Nursing Assistant
or Medical Receptionist curriculum. Upon
completion of these certificates, students can
enter the workforce and/or continue to Level
II to become a Phlebotomist or Medical
Office Administrator, or work toward an
associate degree in another program. All
classes are held in Lowell. Financial aid is
available for qualified students.
Ladik said that AHP students achieve
success through a variety of traditional and
nontraditional courses, career counseling,
tutoring and hands-on experience. "We use
the case-management model, which provides
students with a specific person as a contact
who acts as academic advisor and personal
counselor, and helps the student navigate
through many of the college processes. Our
small class size ensures that students receive
individualized attention and support. Many
AHP students have been away from the
classroom for some time, and college,
initially, can be a real challenge."
There are many inspiring success stories in
the program, said Ladik. One student, a
woman with children at home and a part-
time job, is completing the Nursing Assistant
Certificate program and plans to move right
on to Phlebotomy.
Another woman, who started in MCC's
Liberal Studies Certificate Program, Ladik
explained, decided to try the AHP Nursing
Assistant Certificate program. She
completed that program, got a job
immediately, and enrolled in the AHP
Phlebotomy program. Even before her
phlebotomy internship was completed, the
student was hired to be a phlebotomist. Now
working at that same facility, she is pursuing
a Medical Assisting Associate Degree at
MCC and hopes to become a medical
To enter MCC's Academy of Health
Professions, students must apply and be
accepted. Students need a high school
diploma or GED, and must achieve specific
reading scores on MCC's College Placement
Tests. Tutoring for the placement tests is
available at no charge.
MCC's initial AHP program was funded by a
grant from the Commonwealth Corporation.
The program is now supported by the
college. A new certificate in Clinical Lab
Assisting is being developed as part of a U.S.
Department of Labor grant to community
colleges to create and implement workforce
development programs.
For more information about MCC's
Academy of Health Professions, visit:
O/ or call Joan Ladik at 978-656-3040.
Deborah Kearney
Massachusetts Community Colleges Get $20 Million Federal Grant
Middlesex will receive approximately $800,000 to retrain laid-off workers as part of a $20
million grant the U.S. Department of Labor awarded to Massachusetts' community
colleges. MCC will use its funding to support programs in the life sciences, health and
biotechnology fields.
Submitted by a consortium of the state's 15 community colleges, the grant will help trade-
impacted and other eligible workers attain degrees, certificates and industry-recognized
credentials. Funded in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the grant will
allow the creation of a seamless pipeline of support from the time a worker is notified of
layoff, to their completion of training and the start of a new job or career.
The grant focuses on key industry sectors that reflect the state's strategic economic
development plan: information technology, clean energy, advanced manufacturing,
financial services and entrepreneurship, as well as life sciences and biotechnology, and
health care.
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