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Summer 2010 | Archives

$4.5 million in grants will bring jobs to those who need them

"We pride ourselves on being the gateway to opportunity for those who live in our four-county region."
- Randy Schmailzl, MCC President

Over the next two years, partnerships among MCC and federal agencies will help reduce lead content in Omaha soil, provide jobs for at-risk youth and improve health information technology.

The projects are part of a trio of federal stimulus funds that will provide valuable job training to hundreds of Nebraskans.

Among the Grants:

  • A $3.3 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to train 75 adults as soil remediation professionals and reduce lead contamination in eastern Omaha.
  • A $525,000 grant from the Department of Labor to provide job training and summer jobs to 125 at-risk youth.
  • A $730,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to train 150 new health information technology professionals, part of a $2 billion national effort to achieve widespread adoption of electronic health records.

These collaborative partnerships will help provide jobs to those who need them while accomplishing multiple goals for the community and state, said Randy Schmailzl, MCC President.

"Metropolitan Community College has always placed the highest value on collaborative partnerships that seek to accomplish multiple goals for our community," Schmailzl said. "We pride ourselves on being the gateway to opportunity for those who live in our four-county region."

Improving Health in Eastern Omaha

Since 2003, nearly 9,000 acres in eastern Omaha and North Omaha have been designated an EPA priority Superfund site, a classification reserved for the most environmentally hazardous areas. The lead contamination—found in residential properties, child care facilities and schools in Omaha—is the result of nearly 100 years of lead and heavy metals emissions from the former ASARCO lead refining facility and other factories. The effects of lead exposure can be profound, affecting children's brains and nervous systems and causing lower IQs, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

MCC's job training partnership with the EPA, the first of its kind in the nation, will help alleviate levels of lead contamination in Omaha or other Superfund sites. Students will be trained to encourage the protection of human health through health education, participation in cleanup and interior dust control. Students in the program earn a specialist diploma and a path to an associate degree, as well as the possibility of a job offer with a Superfund contractor. Priority placement in the program is given to applicants who are residents of the Superfund site.

Providing Jobs to at-Risk Youth

MCC is teaming up with Nebraska Workforce Development, the City of Omaha and the Urban League to steer youth away from violence by offering employment and education alternatives. In addition to providing some of the summer positions, MCC will help youth ages 18-24 complete their GED, gain proficiency in basic reading and math skills, explore careers and training for job readiness and discuss options for continuing education. Ultimately, the program will provide youth the skills they need to move beyond a summer job, Schmailzl said.

For information on the application process, call 453-9730 or visit www.urbanleagueneb.org.

Training a Cutting-Edge Health Technology Workforce

With a new program designed to train current healthcare or IT professionals in health information technology, MCC joins a national effort to provide an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.

MCC will develop course curriculum for the six-month Specialist Diploma in Health Information Technology through collaboration with the Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) and healthcare administration company HDM Corp. The application process is under development.

 
 
 
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