August 30, 2018

MWCC lands $3.2M federal grant for healthcare education

Photo/Grant Welker
Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded a $3.2 million for health care education.

Mount Wachusett Community College, armed with a $3.2-million federal grant for the next five years, will help create pathways to a healthcare education and career for 85 local students.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allocate $640,000 annually over the next five years beginning this coming school year. The Gardner-based community college is one of 21 colleges and universities to receive the grant and one of just two community colleges included.

The program, the North Central Massachusetts Health Career Opportunity Program, will build an educational pipeline for students from Athol High School, Ralph C. Mahar Reginal High School and Gardner High School, and students enrolled at MWCC in allied health profession degrees and transfer programs articulating to health degrees.

Filling the staffing gap in the area's healthcare industry is the main goal of the program, MWCC said in a press release.

"It is through the committed work of the teams at MWCC and our partner schools and medical institutions that we have received this highly competitive grant," said MWCC President James Vander Hooven. "This grant benefits not only for the students who will be given additional opportunities, but for our communities that need additional healthcare workers."

The program includes an Ambassador Academy, which provides additional education for about 45 high school juniors and seniors each year along with 20 MWCC students enrolled in health care programs.

Those classes will be held over the summer at Athol and Mahar high schools. Students from Gardner and enrolled at MWCC will be taught at the college's Gardner campus.

The academy will include prerequisite English, math and science courses required to enter a health care profession transfer track or allied health profession program after graduating high school. Credits will count toward both high school diplomas and college degrees.

Other benefits include free tutoring, transfer support, financial aid counseling and hands-on experience with Heywood and Athol Hospital and other partners.

After completing the academy, students will be eligible for a $1,500 scholarship to be used toward a MWCC allied health profession degree or transfer program.


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