Midlands Tech receives grant for entry-level health care classes (+video)

ashain@thestate.comOctober 9, 2013 

— Midlands Technical College and five other schools received a $25 million federal grant for entry-level health care training classes using state-of-the-art simulators.

Midlands Tech received $8.3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration – the largest grant in school history – to offer one-year certificates for certified nursing assistants, phlebotomists, cardiac care assistants, rehabilitation technicians and patient-care technicians.

The school hopes to train workers who have left lower-skill jobs in manufacturing and transportation with the new program. The grant comes from a federal government program that aids workers who lost their jobs from foreign trade.

Students completing the certificate program likely would earn about $10 an hour – or $21,000 a year – in entry-level positions.

Students will train on life-like, computer-controlled mannequins that breathe, blink their eyes and change color, as well as with new 3D virtual technology. Online classes will be available. Students also will receive clinical, real-world training – which should help reduce mistakes once students get jobs, state education officials said.

The demand for health-care workers keeps growing.

Midlands Tech receives four times as many applications for the 500 spots in its advanced health care-related programs – including nursing, the school’s health sciences chairwoman Martha Hanks said.

But health care employers said they needed more entry level employees, the college said.

The new one-year certificate classes will enroll 48 students a semester at Midlands Tech, Hanks said. Classes start in fall 2014 and cost $1,800 a semester, though tuition aid is available to those who qualify. A high-school degree or equivalent is required.

Five other technical colleges in South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama received pieces of the entry-level, health care training grant. The grant lasts four years and should be enough to get the programs started, Hanks said.

Other schools in South Carolina receiving money include Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, which was granted $3.4 million, and Florence-Darlington Technical College, awarded $3.3 million.

Gov. Nikki Haley attended a news conference announcing the Midlands Tech programs on Wednesday. Haley praised the Labor Department grant.

“What we’re talking about is training, and any time you’re talking about training to get private-sector jobs (that’s) hugely important,” she said. “What we’re saying is that this is a pathway to success. We’re not creating government jobs. Someone can say, ‘I can get a brand new career.’”

Video: Gov. Nikki Haley visits Midlands Tech for grant announcement

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