PARAMUS, N.J. – Joined by government officials, healthcare industry partners, college leaders and students who recently began apprenticeship training, Bergen Community College announced the acquisition of a $12 million U.S. Department of Labor grant during a Sept. 25 event in the institution’s Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center. The Bergen-led application represented one of only 23 projects awarded a total of $183.8 million by the federal government during this cycle.
As part of the Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant, Bergen will lead a consortium of partners to expand and enhance apprenticeship programs for more than 5,000 New Jersey residents. The four-year NJ HealthWorks initiative includes 14 community colleges and healthcare partners such as CVS Health, the Health Care Association of New Jersey and the RWJBarnabas Health System. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development also supported the consortium’s application.
The Sept. 25 kickoff event featured remarks from Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Germaine Ortiz and New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
“This grant represents the best kind of collaborative partnership, and we look forward to working together to help put people to work,” President Redmond said. “In short, this program creates opportunity and expands economic mobility, both of which are central to our mission as a community college and aligns with the Vision 2028 Framework for the Future initiative of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.”
“Healthcare represents a cornerstone of Bergen County’s workforce,” Freeholder Chair Ortiz said. “This grant will not only help put people to work, but further support the needs of healthcare employers who require high-skilled, supremely trained employees. I am proud that Bergen Community College has taken a leadership role in this effort and excited about the possibilities that stand before us.”
“Thousands of new apprentices will be mentored in careers that are rewarding, family sustaining, and vital to our country’s future healthcare needs because of the commitment to apprenticeship by Bergen Community College and its healthcare partners,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “In my mind, there is almost no industry sector that cannot benefit from an apprenticeship program, and this new partnership among government, industry, and higher education proves the point.”
Under the grant, Bergen will expand nine existing programs and create five new initiatives blending classroom education and work experience in positions such as sonographers, patient care technicians and paramedics. The grant will specifically target assisting residents in the state’s underserved populations including displaced, unemployed, underemployed and veteran workers. Healthcare added 220,700 new jobs in New Jersey during the last 27 years, nearly outpacing the entire private sector’s employment growth over the same period. With six hospitals and more than 70,000 jobs, healthcare represents Bergen County’s top workforce cluster.
NJ HealthWorks partners:
· Bergen Community College (lead)
· Advanced Subacute Rehabilitation Center
· Atlantic Cape Community College
· Brookdale Community College
· Camden County College
· Christian Health Care Center
· County College of Morris
· CVS Health
· East Orange Medical Practice
· Essex County College
· Hudson County Community College
· Mercer County Community College
· Middlesex County College
· Ocean County College
· Passaic County Community College
· Roosevelt Care Center at Edison
· Rowan College at Burlington County
· Rowan College at Gloucester County
· RWJBarnabas Health System
· Trinitas Regional Medical Center
· Union County College
The following additional partners also provide support: District Council Local 1199J Training and Education Fund, the Health Care Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Garden State Employment and Training Association and local workforce development boards.
Bergen Community College currently enrolls nearly 1,100 students in health professions programs such as radiation therapy, surgical technology and certified home health aide. Many learn in the institution’s Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center, constructed under the Building our Future Bond Act approved by voters in Nov. 2012 and opened in 2016. The facility features 19 SMART classrooms, 13 dedicated laboratories and a simulation center for labor and delivery, ambulatory pediatrics, emergency room, long term and intensive care.