PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College has received a $12 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to lead a consortium of education and healthcare industry partners to expand and enhance apprenticeship programs for more than 5,000 New Jersey residents. The four-year NJ HealthWorks initiative includes 14 community colleges and healthcare partners such as CVS Health, the Health Care Association of New Jersey and the RWJBarnabas Health System. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development also supported the consortium’s application.
“The healthcare sector represents one of critical importance to our county, state and nation,” Bergen Executive Vice President Brian D. Agnew, Ph.D., who oversees the College grants department, said. “This collaborative effort of Bergen Community College, education and industry partners will not only strengthen the healthcare sector by providing employers with highly skilled workers but offer new career opportunities for thousands of men and women seeking to improve their personal, economic and workforce mobility.”
The Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant – one of only 23 applications awarded a total of $183.8 million by the federal government during this cycle – will see the College expand nine existing programs and create five new initiatives blending classroom education and work experience in positions such as sonographers, patient care technicians and paramedics. The grant will specifically target assisting residents in the state’s underserved populations including displaced, unemployed, underemployed and veteran workers. Healthcare added 220,700 new jobs in New Jersey during the last 27 years, nearly outpacing the entire private sector’s employment growth over the same period.
The NJHealthWorks initiative serves as a cornerstone for broader efforts in New Jersey’s community colleges to build career and credential pathway collaboratives in key workforce sectors. The program remains consistent with the “VISION 2028” framework for the future of New Jersey community colleges designed to increase the percentage of working adults who have earned a post-secondary credential or degree to 65 percent by the year 2025.
NJ HealthWorks partners:
- Bergen Community College (lead)
- Advanced Subacute Rehabilitation Center
- Atlantic Cape Community College
- Brookdale Community College
- Camden County College
- Christian Health Care Center
- County College of Morris
- CVS Health
- East Orange Medical Practice
- Essex County College
- Hudson County Community College
- Mercer County Community College
- Middlesex County College
- Ocean County College
- Passaic County Community College
- Roosevelt Care Center at Edson
- Rowan College at Burlington County
- Rowan College at Gloucester County
- RWJBarnabas Health System
- Trinitas Regional Medical Center
- Union County College
Additional partners including District Council Local 1199J Training and Education Fund, the Health Care Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Garden State Employment and Training Association and local workforce development boards will also provide support.
With six hospitals and more than 70,000 jobs, healthcare represents Bergen County’s top workforce cluster. The College has made significant investments to support the sector, including opening the region’s only Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center in 2016. The $25.5 million facility features simulation laboratories and SMART classrooms to enhance the learning experience, preparing students with the advanced skills needed to succeed in today’s evolving healthcare labor market. A first floor, 24-chair dental hygiene clinic allows students to complete 600 hours of clinical practice and also provides the local community with a low-cost oral healthcare option. The College’s health professions degree, certificate and licensing programs currently enroll more than 1,400 students and offer a direct pipeline to industry.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
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