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Surry Community College Receives Grant to Strengthen Employer Partnership with Northern Regional Hospital and Connect Learners with Opportunities

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Strada Education Network selected Surry Community College (SCC) to receive a $400,000 grant through the Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge as part of an effort to support innovative collaborations across the country between community colleges and employers.

This two-year grant from the Strada Education Network’s Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge supports employer partnerships that connect learners to in-demand employment opportunities to strengthen regional economies. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the registered nursing job outlook is projected to grow nine percent from 2020 to 2030, and N.C. Nursecast predicts the state nursing shortage to be 17,500 by 2033.

Surry Community College will use the grant monies to partner with Northern Regional Hospital (NRH) to address healthcare workforce shortages by increasing enrollment in healthcare programs and expanding support and work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities for students. Utilizing the work-based learning program Surry-Yadkin Works that connects four local public school systems to the college, a Healthcare Career Liaison and Health Science Student Success Advisor will be hired to increase awareness of healthcare related career pathways among middle and high school students and provide classroom and laboratory instruction. Northern Regional Hospital will provide clinical instruction and supervision for students during rotations, provide opportunities for internships and other professional development activities, and contribute to funding the liaison position after the grant period ends.

The Healthcare Career Liaison will be responsible for recruitment programs and target three different areas in the community. They will work with middle school students which will include classroom presentations, planning and implementing field trips to NRH and SCC, hosting a healthcare career camp, planning and implementing healthcare career fairs, and providing hands-on healthcare experiences through virtual reality programming and manikin simulations. The Healthcare Career Liaison will do the same program for high school students, as well as set up job shadowing experiences at NRH. They will serve 10 high schools and nine middle schools throughout Surry and Yadkin counties. They will also plan adult and community awareness activities to promote healthcare careers such as a community health science career fair.

“Our goal is to start with students during the career planning phase of middle school and continue throughout high school, so they can learn about their career options in this field and have personal attention with the Health Science Student Success Advisor,” said Crystal Folger-Hawks, Surry-Yadkin Works Program Director.

The Health Science Student Success Advisor will offer student advising, assist with high school and college plans of study, register students, and identify appropriate resources to provide students with wraparound services. They will keep the same cohort of students and advise them about the possible consequences of academic decisions and provide guidance to individual support services.

After the grant ends, Northern Regional Hospital and Surry Community College will continue supporting these positions financially. The grant will also pay for hands-on healthcare equipment such as virtual reality tools, presentation kits and CPR manikins, as well as community activities and meetings that will focus on healthcare student recruitment.

“Surry Community College and Northern Regional Hospital have established these positions to expand our recruiting efforts for healthcare programs and ensure students are presented these career opportunities prior to selecting their educational pathway,” said SCC President Dr. David Shockley. “This grant will support the need for dedicated personnel to assist with clinical rotations, faculty teaching and other supporting roles within the nursing program at SCC. We are thankful for the partnership established with Northern Regional Hospital to help meet these critical needs within our community.”

Northern Regional Hospital partnered with Surry-Yadkin Works to develop the first Youth LPN and RN Apprenticeship Program in North Carolina. In Spring 2022, the program finished its second year with 28 youth pre-apprentices working at paid positions at Northern Regional Hospital. Students completed the CNA course during high school, received a paid CNA pre-apprenticeship and were offered an apprenticeship upon successful completion.

This school year, SCC and NRH are implementing a new clinical program located at NRH. Currently, SCC’s nursing education staff is responsible for teaching the classroom portion and overseeing their clinical experience at local nursing homes and NRH. This new collaboration will allow SCC’s nursing staff to teach students the classroom and lab portions on campus and the majority of the clinical experiences for nursing courses taught will be provided by NRH. NRH will supply 11 nurse educators from their current staff, and they will be responsible for assisting with coordinating and teaching educational programs and activities that promote continued education of hospital clinical personnel and affiliates. The NRH nurse educators will assist in the scheduling of students for clinical rotations and mentor the students.

“For nearly 40 years, I have been privileged to work and partner with many successful community college workforce training programs,” said Chris A. Lumsden, President & CEO of NRH. “I consider this particular partnership and program with SCC among the most creative and important ones to NRH and the residents of this rural region of North Carolina. This ‘Growing Our Own’ strategy is paramount to the long-term sustainability of NRH and a key to successful economic development in Surry County and our neighboring rural counties.”

In addition to Surry Community College, 10 other colleges received grants:

Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Carl Albert State College, Sallisaw, Oklahoma

Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, Rhode Island

Green River College, Auburn, Washington

Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Indiana

MiraCosta College, North San Diego County, California

Pima County Community College, Tucson, Arizona

Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, Utah

West Georgia Technical College, La Grange, Georgia

As a part of the grant program, Surry Community College will participate in opportunities to share insights and learn from other community colleges and employers, through a community of practice.

“At Strada, we believe in investing in innovative solutions that deliver results beyond completion,” Strada Education Network President and CEO Stephen Moret said. “Community colleges have long played a critical role by serving the dynamic needs of both learners and employers in their communities. We are thrilled to have the chance to support college leaders and employers who are coming together to provide timely opportunities for learners.”

Strada Education Network created this grant-making initiative to partner with community colleges to support stronger regional economies and communities. This represents Strada’s first major investment in the community college sector and a recognition that community colleges have a transformative capacity to address changing regional workforce needs. The initiative aims to improve employment and socioeconomic outcomes for students who historically have faced significant barriers to economic mobility.

“Community colleges are engines of opportunity with unique insight into local dynamics and needs,” Strada Impact President Ruth V. Watkins said. “We’re honored to both support and learn from these programs as we work to align measures of success beyond completion with the things that matter most to learners: career mobility and earning potential, meaningful work and the chance to contribute to their communities.”

Strada Education Network is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people take advantage of education and training after high school that helps them secure a good job, do meaningful work, contribute to their communities, and lead a fulfilling life. Strada helps students succeed beyond completion of a certificate or degree through its research, charitable grants, and social impact investments, as well as through the work of Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, CAEL, Education at Work, InsideTrack, and Roadtrip Nation, which directly serve learners and workers. Learn more at stradaeducation.org.

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