Daily Lobo: Grant gives colleges tools to help workers

By:  Sayyed Shah

This funding allows colleges across New Mexico to provide students and workers with quality job training to help fill the needs of New Mexico’s expanding health care and technology workforce, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said.

“The funding, provided under Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, will allow these community colleges to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that will help job seekers get the skills,” Heinrich’s website states.

The colleges will receive the funding as part of a consortium led by Santa Fe Community College to establish career pathways for New Mexico citizens.

The lead institute, Santa Fe Community College, will receive $5,682,378. Consortium members as sub-recipients include University of New Mexico branch campuses: Taos, $688,983.00; Valencia, $788,029; Los Alamos, $579,961; and Gallup, $866,967.

The funds are specifically targeted to help New Mexican adults advance into high-wage careers in Healthcare and Health Information Technology.

“Our community colleges provide quality training and education to more than 80,000 New Mexicans each year, and this funding will help them better prepare veterans and those whose jobs were affected by foreign trade to develop the skills for high-wage jobs in health care,” U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said.

Udall said the investment in the community college system will ensure that New Mexican workers have the training they need to succeed in these in-demand career opportunities.

The consortium was formed in 2011 to apply for the TAACCCT funding. This successful award was Round 4 and the last of the TAACCCT funding. The four UNM branch campuses will benefit from this funding as members of the consortium.

“We are excited and hope this funding would improve our existing programs and help us start some new programs as well,” said Rita Gallegos Logan, community education services manager for the UNM-Valencia campus.

UNM-Valencia has a robust Allied Health pathway which begins at the entry-level PCA (personal care attendant/home health aide); nursing assistant (CNA); associate degree in nursing (ADN), which establishes the pathway on to a BSN, MSN or higher-level careers in the healthcare field, Gallegos Logan said.

This is the second round of grant funding UNM-Valencia campus has received from TAACCCT, Gallegos Logan said. The first grant funded the integrated basic education and skills training (IBEST) program at the campus.

I BEST was piloted at six community colleges including UNM-Valencia and UNM-Taos, she said

“This model integrates basic literacy and math skills into a skills training course by embedding an Adult Basic Education instructor, i.e., GED or ESL, in a course such as EMS or CNA in order to contextualize the basic skills instruction,” Logan said.

The TAACCT competitive grant program, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, has provided $23 million to New Mexico institutions in the past four years, Heinrich said.