Carol Elizabeth Owens
The Finger Lakes Performing Provider System (FLPPS) is providing $4,000,000 in funding to a new academic and credentialing program for more than 550 students to enter health care and social service careers.
The two-year program is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022, with completion in 2023.
FLPPS’s System Transformation and Community Investment Program (STCIP) is the funding partner for this new program and Monroe Community College (MCC) is the initiative’s lead academic institution.
Other SUNY community colleges (including Cayuga, Corning, Finger Lakes, and Genesee) are program partners with FLPPS. This regional collaboration seeks to establish a sustainable model for long-term career pathways that expand the health care workforce pool and provide opportunities for more diverse individuals to achieve economic mobility.
According to FLPPS, MCC’s analysis of the labor market shows the Finger Lakes region is projected to experience a staffing crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which underscores the critical need for a robust talent pipeline to meet employers’ health care workforce demands.
Students will be offered educational and training opportunities along with holistic supports to ensure students stay on track with their academic goals. Students will also receive job-placement assistance to begin their healthcare careers.
MCC says there are annual shortages of about 200 certified nurse assistants and 45 licensed practical nurses.
“We are grateful to [FLPPS] for its support of our students and their futures, creating life-changing opportunities that will empower them to fulfill their potential and make a difference in the lives of residents and families throughout the Finger Lakes region,” said MCC President Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna. “Through strategic collaboration with our partners in education and industry, MCC builds on increasing access to quality education and training that lead to family-sustaining careers and social mobility,” Burt-Nanna said. “We are committed to closing economic and equity gaps and improving quality of life in our communities and across the region.”
“I am excited FLPPS is partnering with MCC and our other regional community colleges and workforce experts in providing educational career pathways,” said Carol Tegas, Executive Director of FLPPS. “This pioneering program will provide vital educational and training opportunities that are desperately needed in the Finger Lakes Region.”
Students will also receive community resources and connections to housing, transportation, and child care to support basic needs so they can focus on their academic and career goals.
“Corning Community College is proud to join with our sister colleges in the region in partnering with the FLPPS on this innovative initiative to expand healthcare educational opportunities in the Southern Tier,” said Dr. William P. Mullaney, president of SUNY Corning Community College. “Capitalizing on the recent curriculum changes to the college’s nursing program, the grant will create seamless pathways for students from certified nurse aide through practical nurse to registered nurse,” said Mullaney.
Action for a Better Community (ABC) is expected to collaborate with each participating college by providing mentoring and case management services to facilitate students’ success and completion rates. The colleges will work with BOCES, Hillside, Catholic Family Center, PathStone, area school districts, and other workforce programs to build a recruitment pathway for students from underserved areas.
“This grant will support the development of a behavioral health technician program to improve mental health services in the region, another area that was hard hit as a consequence of the pandemic,” Mullaney said. “The focus on wrap-around services, such as child care, housing and transportation, in the grant bodes well for its success because it addresses the complex lives of our students and the challenges they face in pursuing their education.”
“We know that students’ struggles to meet basic needs can be a barrier to education,” said Robert K. Nye, president of Finger Lakes Community College. “With the shortage of health care workers amid a pandemic, everyone has an interest in helping these students complete their education and training,” Nye said. “FLCC is very proud to be a partner with FLPPS and our fellow community colleges to support this important endeavor to make a difference in all of our communities.”
“Career pathways are transformative avenues allowing students to transition from their academic journey to fulfilling their potential as professionals. Like our institutions of higher education, these pathways reinforce opportunities for economic and social mobility for diverse individuals throughout our communities,” said Cayuga College President Dr. Brian Durant. “We appreciate FLPPS’s support for our students, and for creating an opportunity for students to realize their goals of making a difference in our communities.”
“Short-term, easily accessible training models are successful ways to move underrepresented populations into careers that are in-demand, and provide individuals opportunities for career growth and advancement.” said Kristin Sine-Kinz, acting vice president of economic and workforce development and career technical education at MCC. “Through the financial investment from FLPPS, MCC is able to provide the necessary pathways for students to gain the essential skills needed to perform these vital health care jobs within our community.”
FLPPS says the program’s educational and training opportunities will focus on certified nurse assistants becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and on LPNs becoming registered nurses, medical assistants and community and social services professionals.