The Alamo Colleges District and the private College of Health Care Professions partnered to train medical assistants during the pandemic, helping to boost wages and cut back on workforce shortages in the region.
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- The Alamo Colleges District teamed up with the for-profit College of Health Care Professions to train medical assistants during the pandemic.
- The partnership’s pilot cohort graduated last year at no cost — and everyone in the cohort landed a job offer, according to a case study.
- The partnership largely served adult learners who were first-generation students and students of color.
- College leaders say the program’s initial success can be replicated nationwide.
A partnership between a public college district and a for-profit institution helped stimy a shortage of medical assistants during the pandemic, according to a new case study.
The Alamo Colleges District and the College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) teamed up to train medical assistants as companies faced a widespread labor shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the new “Stronger Together” case study from the colleges.
The city of San Antonio launched its Train for Jobs SA program to help residents displaced from jobs due to the pandemic train for high-demand industries like healthcare. The Alamo Colleges District realized its own training capacity for medical assistants wouldn’t meet demand resulting from the Train for Jobs SA program — and developed the partnership with CHCP to ensure students could earn a certification.
“In San Antonio, the demand for medical assistants is only exceeded by the need for RNs,” Sammi Morill, associate vice chancellor of operations, economic and workforce development at the Alamo Colleges District, said in the case study.
“Partnering with CHCP helps us develop an ecosystem that meets the needs of adult learners, helps employers hire qualified talent, and increases the economic opportunities for community members.”
The private-public partnership largely served adult learners from historically underserved groups, including first-generation students and students of color, according to the case study. The partnership’s pilot cohort was a resounding success: All 10 students in the cohort graduated in September 2022 and landed medical assistant job offers at zero cost.
Students who take part in the program have zero cost for tuition, books, laptops, and course materials, according to the case study. The colleges use a mix of Pell Grants, internal CHCP grants, and grants from the Train for Jobs SA program.
“What stands out about this partnership is: putting learners first and ensuring that they access the right program for their needs and in a timely manner,” Jason Tyszko, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said in a College of Health Care Professions press release.
CHCP Chancellor and CEO Eric Bing said in the study that the partnership “is a successful example of two community organizations pooling their specialized resources to work toward solving the medical assisting labor shortage that is impacting healthcare.”
Many of the first cohort’s graduates are making $17-$18 hourly with full benefits and regular work hours, according to the case study. Bing said the public-private partnership’s success can be replicated nationwide.
Morrill underscored that the partnership both helps employers fill high-demand jobs and helps residents with financial stability.
“There are local employers with unfilled medical assisting positions and residents
seeking better jobs and financial stability,” Morrill said.
“We built a partner model with CHCP to give more people more options to get the credentials and work placements that land these jobs. Our model demonstrates how working together boosts students’ career pathways, workforce development, and the local economy.”