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Edmonds CC receives federal boost: $7 million for health care training

10/12/2010

Edmonds Community College will begin an innovative $7 million program to train low income adults in Snohomish County to fill critical jobs in health care that will become a model for Washington state.

In October, the college received word from the federal Department of Health and Human Services that it was awarded $1.4 million, for the first year, of the Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare (CATCH) program. U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Jay Inslee announced the significant investment coming to the college as a part of health insurance reform.

“Not only will we be able to train low income adults in Snohomish County to fill critical jobs in health care, we will start them on the path to advanced careers in the health sciences,” said Edmonds Community College President Jack Oharah. “This grant gives us access to an innovative way to use technology to offer training and meet employers’ needs. It will be a new model for Washington state.”

The goal of the project is to close the gap between underlying poverty, especially for refugee and immigrant populations, in Snohomish County and regional job shortages in health services. The CATCH program will combine online learning with intensive hands on skills labs and clinical work experience at partner health care facilities to allow low income students to get the training they need to move into better paying jobs on a flexible schedule, while they continue to work and support their families.

"We are very excited about this opportunity," said Pat Copeland, Edmonds Community College's Dean of Health and Human Services. "The CATCH program will allow us to remove traditional barriers and open the door for low income parents to train for careers such as a pharmacy technician or a clinical laboratory assistant. It also sets them on a pathway that could lead to further education to become a pharmacist or medical technician."

The CATCH program will provide online and hands-on training to 500 low-income adults in Snohomish County for jobs in Allied Health professions (pharmacy technician, phlebotomy technician, EKG technician, clinical lab assistant, nursing assistant) and prepare them to advance their careers in health care. Intensive academic and support services will help these students succeed, providing skills and experience they can use throughout their lives and careers: computer and information literacy, study skills, critical thinking, problem solving, financial literacy, and communications skills.

“For example, a low income single-mother could continue to work in her retail job, take online classes through the CATCH project and train for a career as a pharmacy technician, while raising her children and then gain the confidence and skills to continue on in classes for a bachelor's degree or higher,” said Copeland.

Edmonds Community College’s partners in the CATCH program include: the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County; Everett Community College; the Department of Social and Health Services; Housing Hope; the Snohomish County Refugee and Immigrant Forum; Business Access, a company that specializes in building in-home learning communities; and regional health care employers such as Providence Regional Medical Center, Swedish Hospital, and Warm Beach Senior Community.

Find out more about Allied Health education and training for professions including, Clinical Lab Assistant, Electrocardiography (EKG) Technician, Health Unit Coordinator, Nurse Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, and Practical Nursing (LPN) and watch the videos about Pharmacy Technician and Nursing training at Edmonds Community College at http://www.edcc.edu/ahe. For more information, call 425.640.1017.

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Allied Health Education at Edmonds Community College

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