$8.7 million grant awarded to train 1,250 low-income and TANF recipients for careers in health care

10.16.2015 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant includes partners San Jacinto College, Harris Health System, and Neighborhood Centers, Inc.  

PASADENA, Texas – The United States Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an $8.7 million grant to San Jacinto College and partners for training that will move more people into the health care job areas that are experiencing a shortage of qualified employees.

The Health Careers Pathways Partnership grant will allow San Jacinto College to train approximately 1,250 low-income and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients for the health care industry. Primary partners for the grant include the Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (NCI) and the Harris Health System. The grant will run over the course of five years with $1.6 million distributed during the first year. 

"We have job openings, and we want to encourage these to be career openings with this grant and opportunities for additional education through San Jacinto College," said Ruth Ransom, executive director of the Harris County Hospital District Foundation, adding that Harris Health System has a continual need for CNAs, patient care technicians, and medical and clinical laboratory technicians. "One of our goals is to hire people from the communities we serve. When we have clinic employees from the community, patients tend to relate to them more, and therefore, are more willing to revisit the clinic for their preventive health care needs."

The Neighborhood Centers, Inc., a Houston-based non-profit that operates 11 Workforce Solutions offices, will also work with San Jacinto College to help place participants once they have completed training.

Targeted job openings include home health aide, projected to grow 23 percent over the next three years in the Texas Gulf Coast region; nursing assistants, projected to grow by 10 percent; phlebotomists, projected to grow by nine percent; pharmacy technicians, projected to grow by nine percent; medical administrative assistants, projected to grow by 10 percent; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, projected to grow by nine percent; registered nurses, projected to grow by 11 percent; and medical and clinical laboratory technicians, projected to grow by 12 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. 

"Earning certificates and degrees and getting hired for a career within the health care industry can change not only a person's life, but his or her family as well," said Dr. Allatia Harris, San Jacinto College vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, workforce, community, and diversity. "A person who pursues additional education sets in motion the cycle of success for future generations."

Besides tuition assistance, the grant will fund additional services to help participants successfully complete their training, as many may balance family and work as they take courses. These services will include case managers and other counseling services related to emergency assistance, non-cash incentives, housing support services, social support services, work-based training opportunities and job development services.

"We are grateful for this Health Careers Pathways Partnership grant and for our community partners for allowing us to train more people for rewarding careers in health care,” said Dr. Sarah Janes, San Jacinto College vice president of the Continuing and Professional Development division. 

San Jacinto College offers training in the targeted health care job areas through both credit and noncredit programs. The College's Continuing and Professional Development division's health occupations program is designed to quickly train unemployed and incumbent workers to either enter the health care industry or to upskill. Many of the courses link to the College's health sciences credit courses to allow participants to train, work, and later revisit the College to pursue associate degrees.

About the Continuing and Professional Development division
This division at San Jacinto College provides continuing education and training for both current and future employees in the professional and technical job sectors, as well as provides the public with noncredit open enrollment course options to enhance their lives. Professional and technical training is available through contract training, open enrollment, and grant funding. For more information, call 281-476-1838 or visit the Continuing and Professional Development division website.

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.