October 17, 2014
Mesalands Community College was recently awarded $553,223 for the Trade Adjustment Assistant Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education, according to the Department of Labor news release. This grant was part of a consortium of 11 New Mexico colleges, including: Central New Mexico Community College, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU)-Roswell, ENMU-Ruidoso, New Mexico State University-Alamogordo, Santa Fe Community College, University of New Mexico (UNM)-Gallup, UNM-Los Alamos, UNM-Taos, and UNM-Valencia. The TAACCCT grant program awarded $15 million to these colleges and a total of $450 million to two-year colleges across the nation, over a four-year period. The goal of this grant program is to create pathways to train Americans for high demand jobs in information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing.
“It is pretty impressive that Mesalands Community College was among 260 community colleges in the nation selected for this career training program,” said Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, President of Mesalands Community College. “This program will allow our College to offer more educational and career opportunities for our students, while having a positive impact on our local, regional, and statewide economy.”
The New Mexico consortium focused on the information technology and health related industries. The TAACCCT grant program also aligned with the State of New Mexico’s Skill Up Network Pathway (SUN Path) initiative to expand and improve the delivery of healthcare career pathways, to increase graduation rates, and align educational requirements with employer’s needs, in order to improve employment outcomes, according to the news release. The TAACCCT grant program will also support the Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST) program that assist students in completing their high school equivalency and post-secondary credentials in fields offering good wages and career development.
Mesalands Community College plans to expand their health pathways to offer the certified nursing assistant (CNA) and phlebotomy programs. The College plans to work with Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital and a local doctor to implement these academic programs.
“We hope by offering these additional programs that we will attract more students. These are programs in high-demand health fields that are continuously growing.” said Natalie Gillard, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “These programs provide credentialing for our students; they are a stepping stone to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; they help our local health employers; and provide additional employment opportunities for our students.”
Gillard stated that Mesalands plans to offer the CNA and phlebotomy programs in fall 2015.