A consortium led by Roane State Community College received a $12.6 million federal grant to offer more training for health care careers and to provide support students need to complete their degrees, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday.
The grant — called Rx-Tennessee — is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in various fields. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said Wednesday that $500 million in grants had been awarded to community colleges and universities across the country.
“We are honored that the consortium was selected as one of 27 funded nationwide,” Roane State President Dr. Gary Goff said. “The grant is a great collaboration among Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges and Technology Centers, and with the grant, we will be able to give people greater access to programs that lead to jobs in health care.”
In addition to Roane State, consortium members are Chattanooga State Community College, Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Dyersburg State Community College, Jackson State Community College, Motlow State Community College, Nashville State Community College, Northeast State Community College, Pellissippi State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Volunteer State Community College, Walters State Community College, and all Tennessee Technology Centers.
“This award is representative of the strong, quality programs our institutions provide,” TBR Chancellor John Morgan said. “It is an excellent example of how our TBR institutions collaborate to meet the needs of our students and our state, and I appreciate President Goff for his leadership on this project. By providing more training of the type we know is in demand, we will help increase the number of Tennesseans with quality credentials to continue strengthening our state's economy.”
Grant funds will help the colleges and Technology Centers collaborate and deliver health sciences education to more people.
For example, the grant will support a collaboration between Cleveland State, Chattanooga State and Roane State to offer a two-year degree in occupational therapy assistant (OTA). Roane State offers an OTA program, but Cleveland State and Chattanooga State do not have OTA. Through the grant, the three colleges will be able to pool their resources and offer the program to students at each school.
“The grant is about sharing resources,” Dr. Goff said. “With the grant, we can purchase the technology and equipment to expand health sciences programs to more institutions and to more students.”
The grant also supports the Complete College Tennessee Act, the landmark 2010 state legislation designed to boost the number of Tennesseans with college degrees. For example, Rx-Tennessee includes funds for completion coaches to help students stay on track and finish their degrees, funds for online tutoring and funds for many other student support programs.
“The student support programs funded by the grant will be instrumental in helping Tennessee produce more college graduates,” Dr. Goff said. “Many community college and Technology Center students need guidance and support, and with the grant, we will have more resources to help students succeed in college.”
Ranked the 27th best community college in the nation by StateUniversity.com, Roane State has 6,500 students and campuses in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge and Wartburg.
For more information, visit www.roanestate.edu or call 1-866-GO2-RSCC (1-866-462-7722).