CUNY Consortium Receives Grant from U.S. Dept. of Labor: Will Fund BMCC EMS Pathway Program


January 27, 2020

The City University of New York (CUNY) Community Colleges Consortium—including the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Continuing Education and Workforce Development division—has received a nearly $5 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that will fund accelerated training for jobs in technology, healthcare and education.

The DOL’s Strengthening Community College (SCC) Training Grants program seeks to build the capacity of the nation’s community colleges to meet today’s labor market demand for a skilled workforce. CUNY was one of 11 of the DOL applications funded nationwide. Of the 11, seven were consortium applications such as CUNY’s and four were single institutions.  Queensborough Community College is the lead applicant at CUNY.

BMCC will use the funds to expand an earlier pilot program in the Allied Health Department where high school students were trained to become Emergency Medical Service workers while earning college credits towards a degree at the same time.

BMCC will work with high school seniors at New York City Career and Technical Education high schools (CTE) and prepare them for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification while they simultaneously earn stackable credits towards enrollment in the BMCC Associate in Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) Paramedic program within the Allied Health department.

Each of the CUNY Community College Consortium partners will be working to affect large-scale systematic change by addressing program level components at each of the community colleges and system-level components across the CUNY system.

Faculty and administrators at BMCC working on the project include Allied Health Science Professor Meghan Williams, who is the Emergency Medical Services program director; Donna McLean Grant, Ed.d. BMCC Center from Continuing Education and Workforce Development and Harini Venkatesh, executive director of New York City CTE High Schools.

“This grant provides resources that will help these students build a solid foundation to start their careers on, and with additional support,” said Williams “There are multiple important, exciting aspects of this grant. These funds will allow students to enter the career early in high school, it provides additional study and skill supports that are necessary to succeed, and it puts them on the path to success.”

Williams explained that the New York City region has been experiencing a troubling shortage of well-trained EMS workers. The number of certified EMS providers in New York has declined by at least nine percent in the last ten years, according to the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS. The need for well-trained EMS workers has increased markedly over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the region.

“There are students who display heart, rising over their difficult situations to succeed, but aren’t able to take EMT classes due to the expense,” said Williams. “This gives them the opportunity to become an EMT, and teaches them the additional skills to be successful in EMT just as they’ve demonstrated in their own lives. It’s an exciting new venture and will help to address some of the needs students have, while jumpstarting their careers.”

Dean of Continuing Education Sunil Gupta said the BMCC program “opens a pathway to higher education in the long run and in the immediate future, makes it possible for these 18- to 24-year-olds to apply in-demand skills and certification to enter the New York City healthcare industry.”

“It has been my long-term hope and vision to find ways to scale up the career pathways for New York City high school students which can not only prepare them for careers but also accelerate their enrollment in associate degree programs,” said Gupta.

  • BMCC will work with high school seniors at NYC CTE schools and prepare them for EMT certification
  • While training for jobs, the students will simultaneously earn college credit toward degree at BMCC
  • EMTs are in great demand in New York state

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