After receiving a two-year Industry Driven Regional Collaborative (IDRC) grant valued at approximately $230,000, College of the Canyons finds itself on the ground floor in the development of the Healthcare Information Technology Statewide Workforce Training Model, a specialized coding program designed to supplement the needs of a booming segment in the state’s healthcare industry.
The grant comes as the result of a multi-college partnership among Saddleback College, Santa Barbara City College and College of the Canyons, the grant host. Also included in program development are colleagues from California State University, Northridge and Mesa College.
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the demand for well-trained frontline workers has increased statewide. While two-year-degree programs already exist in healthcare technology, the rapid evolution of the industry has placed a high premium on the development of more skilled workers.
The grant will help to develop an on-time, five-course certificate program that includes training in computer information systems, healthcare information technology and health sciences.
“This is an excellent opportunity to develop a program that strengthens the workforce in the health care industry with expanding the knowledge, skills and abilities of a technical support staff person,” said Paula Hodge, deputy sector navigator of information and communication technologies and digital media at the college.
“We are excited to have our industry and education partners recognizing the value that both bring to this training model,” added Hodge, who also serves as sector director for the state’s South Central Coast Region.
The planned program features five components, each lasting eight weeks, with each focused on a specific concentration in some aspect of the healthcare industry. Topics range from basic medical terminology to special-purpose programming language to electronic security and privacy.
This comprehensive training strategy will help new workers acclimate to a demanding industry. However, incumbent workers are also encouraged to utilize training in order to keep their employability competitive.
“This project will align two merging sectors in health and information and communication technologies. We’re providing training to incumbent workers to be competitive in the healthcare workplace,” said John Cordova, deputy sector navigator of allied health at the college and sector director for the South Central Coast Region.
“An example would be a medical assistant given added job duties in data input and creating reports, but without the necessary training or skill set. ‘Upskilling’ the current workforce provides greater performance, increased job value and employment sustainability.”
College of the Canyons is one of seven colleges to receive a program award, which is funded by the Workforce and Economic Development Division of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
Two of the three courses included in the program have already been accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information and Information Management Education.
The grant also establishes a statewide panel that will provide further program developments, internships and local outreach opportunities for those completing the certificate program.