Katy Abel, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
617-994-6932 (office) or 617-429-2026 (cell)

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2013

Ten Community colleges Receive Rapid Response Grants to Target "Skills Gap"

Grants Require 90-day Response to Local Business/Industry Requests to Train Current, Future Employees

HOLLISTON – Ten Massachusetts community colleges have been awarded the state’s first-ever “Rapid Response” grants to respond to education and workforce training needs within 90 days of a company’s request, the Patrick-Murray Administration announced today. The campus recipients of the grants—Berkshire, Bunker Hill, Cape Cod, Greenfield, MassBay, Middlesex, Mount Wachusett, North Shore, Northern Essex and Roxbury Community Colleges—were announced today during a tour of Web Industries in Holliston, where MassBay Community College has just launched English as a Second Language (ESL) and computer literacy training for the company’s multi-lingual employees.

"A stronger community college system is good for students, employers and the whole Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "These additional resources will further accelerate this transformation, and help get people the training they need to advance in the workplace.”

The grant program reflects the goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s community college agenda, specifically the commitment to create new opportunities for locally developed, regionally specific jobs and skills training. The campus recipients of Rapid Response grants will work with health care, manufacturing, engineering and clean energy companies, all of whom require training and educational advancement opportunities that reflect specific industry requirements or business challenges. In some cases, local employers project that training opportunities through the Rapid Response program will allow them to grow the number of jobs available in their companies. Many of the grants are also designed to help community colleges meet the scheduling needs of working adults by providing classes at their place of employment.

“These grants offer a lifeline to employees who are eager for training but who may lack the means to advance their education,” said Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland. “For our community colleges and local business and industry, the grants offer a chance to work together in common cause, building those ‘middle skills’ so essential to meaningful employment opportunities and industry growth.”

At Web Industries, an advanced manufacturing facility providing equipment to some of the world’s leading medical diagnostics companies, fourteen employees have signed up for the first phase of on-site classroom training delivered by MassBay educators, who developed a curriculum in partnership with Web Industries.

“When Web Industries expressed their training and education needs to us, MassBay quickly developed training modules for their needs,” said John O’Donnell, President of MassBay Community College. “Within 90 days the program was up and running, and our instructors were onsite providing the training and education they needed for their workforce.”

Employees will be paid for their participation in ESL classes, and encouraged to pursue further on-site coursework in computer basics, math, team-building, computer software applications, and statistical process control (SPC). The “Web U” classes are intended to “create a culture of learning support and the opportunity for success” at Web Industries, according to the company. None of the students currently enrolled in the MassBay classes have ever attended college. Data show that by 2018, 70% of Massachusetts jobs will require at least some post-secondary education (source: Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce).

“One of our challenges is the skills gap,” said Ronald P. Giard, general manager of the Web Industries facility in Holliston. “The changing demands of our customers are requiring us to educate our own employees. By working with MassBay we are able to do it here during work hours.”

Students began attending classes Tuesdays and Thursdays on May 14. Giard and other Web Industries executives hope the program will inspire their employees to pursue campus-based, credit-bearing coursework needed to earn college degrees.



Fiscal Year 2013 Rapid Response Grant Awardees


Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Community College will be offering a newly-developed accelerated Technical Certificate program in Medical Coding in direct response to the needs of Berkshire Health Systems, one of Berkshire County’s largest employers. This certificate is part of a continuum of stackable credentials ranging from a non-credit medical coding certificate program to an A.S. Degree in Business Careers (Health Information Management Option). The accelerated certificate requires only 17 credits and is designed to be completed by working adults within 12 months. The curriculum was initially developed as part of the Transformation Agenda project. Funding through the Rapid Response Initiative will enable BCC to pilot the credit-bearing certificate for a cohort of students who will be graduating from the non-credit Medical Coding option this spring. The program will also be open to other participants including unemployed or dislocated workers who may be interested in this exciting career field.


Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College proposes to work to respond to explicit requests from major healthcare employers throughout metro Boston to improve healthcare students’ interpersonal and intercultural communication skills—which are essential in the healthcare workplace. The development of the course is in response to several clinical partners’ indications that some healthcare students completing their clinical rotations at their institutions would benefit from improvement in language, interpersonal presentation, and other communication and soft skills necessary to effectively interact with patients and their colleagues. The course will be offered to 250 students and will allow them to be prepared in time for their clinical internships with employers.


Cape Cod Community College

Cape Cod Community College will be working with a consortium of five health care providers to provide industry contextualized curriculum in basic information technology skills and written communication skills for health care workers. This training will allow participating employers to meet the needs presented by the shift to the use of Electronic Medical Records. The project will train incumbent workers, and will allow those workers to develop a more marketable skill set and increase accuracy and efficiency for the employers.


Greenfield Community College

Greenfield Community College will be working with a consortium of employers providing long term heath care who have identified a need for training in the Elder Care space, given the specialized needs of the older population with which they work. The project will include both expanded training for CNA's as well as a modified program for both students in GCC's credit nursing program as well as practitioners seeking non-credit continuing education. The project is meeting a critical need for employers working with this population, and also ensures that employees are acquiring a valuable new credential.


MassBay Community College

MassBay Community College will be working in partnership with Web Industries, an employee owned advanced manufacturing company based in Holliston. Web Industries assists other companies in the process of bringing their products to market through offering state-of-the-art conversion services for flexible materials. MassBay has worked with Web Industries to identify the educational needs of its incumbent employees. In response to the needs, MassBay will provide enhanced onsite training for current employees, which will consist of ESL, introductions to technology, team building, basic math, computer workshops, and statistics. Anticipated training outcomes include potential changes in employment status, upgrades, wage increases, and career mobility.


Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College will be working in partnership with Lowell General Hospital for a training that they have requested for English as a Second Language for the healthcare environment. This training will be tailored for LGH’s workforce, but utilize contextualized modules developed through the Transformation Agenda. This program aims to boost employee effectiveness and advancement opportunities, add to patient satisfaction, and help facilitate improved patient care.


Mount Wachusett Community College

Mount Wachusett Community College has successfully received Rapid Response funding training for healthcare employees of Heywood Hospital in suicide prevention. Unfortunately, Gardner and its surrounding area has experienced a suicide rate that far exceeds the state average. With this grant, Mount Wachusett Community College will be partnering with Heywood hospital to offer training in proven suicide prevention training techniques with 734 healthcare workers within the hospital system from across the system of care--which will include current incumbent workers as well as new hires. Those trained will include primary care providers, nurses, and other allied health workers, increasing the likelihood that a patient considering suicide will encounter an intervention within the healthcare system.


North Shore Community College

North Shore Community College will be working with Chelsea Jewish Foundation, which oversees provides several allied health services such as 24-hour nursing, long term care, assisted living, short and long term rehabilitation, etc. CJF has a growing need for Nurse Assistant/Home Health Aides, and this project will provide onsite CNA/Home Health AIde instruction for current CJF workers. To fill projected need, CJF will target those working at CJF not currently on a health care career pathway (housekeepers and maintenance workers) as well as some new workers.


Northern Essex Community College

Northern Essex will be working to support Mainstream Global, a 12-year old Hispanic-owned business based in Lawrence that specializes in sustainable reverse supply chain solutions. Mainstream Global needs training for its current workers in information technology and communication skills in order to create greater efficiencies and grow their business. The training will be tailored to meet the needs of the company, and will allow for greater career growth of employee participants.


Roxbury Community College

Roxbury Community College is working with two clean energy employers—SolarCity, Inc, and Victory Energy Solutions, for two short term program to advance the skills of their workers. This training will result in two key industry certifications for participants, Business Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst and training for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners PV Installation Professional Certification. The proposed training will allow both companies to train current workers to meet market demand and career growth within their company, allowing future hiring of additional employees.


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