JobTrakPA and BC3 Help A Mother Start a New Career


By Kate Malongows
Butler Eagle
Last year, after 10 months of unemployment, Heidi Long wasn't sure where to turn. The 35-year-old mother had worked as a restaurant manager for several years. But after a layoff, she had trouble finding a job to help support her family. She needed a spark.
She decided to make a career change to welding, an in-demand field, and she was able to do that with Butler County Community College’s JobTrakPA program. Fate, it seems, introduced her to the world of welding. Her future career, like welding metal, became malleable. Her fiance, a Steamfitters welder, introduced her to welding. Once he showed her how it was done, she knew it was something she had to try for herself.
“I wanted something different, something new, something more stable,” said Long of Butler, who is a Seattle-area native. It wasn’t long before she discovered affordable classes at BC3...(More)
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JobTrakPA is Evidence of Federal Spending That Works
By Paul Fain
Inside Higher Ed
Most community colleges could easily put federal grant money to good use plugging up budget holes after years of slashing by states. But the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion in workforce development funding for the sector was designed to encourage two-year colleges to make lasting, ambitious changes instead of just back-filling budgets. And that approach seems to be working... 
The colleges have also used the money to sharpen their focus on career services. Rather than just trying to help students find jobs as they finish degree programs, each one has hired a full-time “career and college navigator” to lend a hand to students throughout their time on campus... 
Read the entire story at Inside Higher Ed

With U.S. Aid, Pennsylvania Community Colleges Try to Retrain Workforce
By Jessica Parks
Philadelphia Inquirer
For the last five months, six middle-age, out-of-work parents have been cramming their brains with information about medical billing, patient privacy, hardware, software, and customer service.
If all goes according to plan, they will graduate in May with four industry certifications and a job offer from one of the many Montgomery County companies in need of their newfound skills - NextGen, Teva Pharmaceuticals, SunGard, Unisys, etc.

"If I could just get my foot in the door, I feel like I could show off my talents and work my way up," said Stuart Novey, 48, of Ambler.

Novey and his classmates spend 25 hours a week at Montgomery County Community College's Pottstown campus as part of a $2 billion U.S. Labor Department effort to get the nation's displaced workers back on their feet.

In Pennsylvania, it started with a $20 million program, JobTrakPA. Each of the state's 14 community colleges designed programs to meet the needs of local businesses... Read the entire story at

TIME Magazine: Can Community Colleges Put Americans Back to Work?
By Victor Luckerson  
Time Magazine

The U.S. Department of Labor is pouring $2 billion into community college job retraining courses across the United States as part its Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides a variety of resources to unemployed individuals seeking new work. The money, administered in $500 million increments between 2011 and 2014, is being awarded to community colleges to develop programs to quickly teach workers new skills and establish relationships with businesses that have job openings.

Pennsylvania, which received one of the largest initial grants at $20 million, recently launched JobTrak PA, a collaborative effort between 14 of the state’s community colleges to help retrain more than 3,000 workers around the state over the course of three years. The programs take on a different form in different parts of the country, based on the labor needs in a given area—in Pennsylvania, schools are training people in advanced manufacturing, health care information technology, or new energy jobs. The “fast-track” courses, some of which can be completed in as few as 12 weeks, offer industry-recognized certificates in various sectors, sometimes for free, to workers that meet high-school-level reading and math requirements and successfully complete an interview.

“This is filling a large void,” says Michelle Williams, the director of the JobTrak program at the Community College of Philadelphia. “People are always saying, ‘Hey we have jobs, but do your people have this credential or that certification?’ If we can’t provide people that have those credentials or have those skill sets, those jobs remain open.”

Upon completing the program, students are paired with career coaches who review their resumes and connect them with businesses. After students land a job, the colleges track their employment status for the next six months to see whether the new training actually helped them to hold onto employment. In order to keep their grant money, schools must show that their students really are getting jobs, with some colleges aiming to successfully place as many as 80% of their retrained workers. (MORE)

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Free Healthcare Tech Class at Lehigh Carbon County Community College

Schnecksville, Pa.– Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) is offering its Healthcare Technology Specialist class at no-charge for students on Monday, Feb. 18, at its main campus in Schnecksville, Pa. 

The Healthcare Technology Specialist class is an introductory noncredit course which prepares students to transition to high-demand healthcare-related careers. Students need only pay for the required text.  

To register, participants are asked to please call today to reserve their seat, 610-799-1689, or visit 

For more information on JobTrakPA, please contact LCCC’s JobTrakPA office at 610-799-1689

Delco Times: Job Trak PA Helps the Unemployed
Kathleen E. CareyJanuary 2013 

A year and a half, Teresa Dinofia of Ridley lost the security job she had at Wyeth for 16 years.

And, thanks in part to the JobTrakPA program at Delaware County Community College, her life has taken a new direction that she hopes leads to a completely different career path.

“I started putting some resumes out before I even ended the class,” Dinofia said. “I got a call back.”

After taking the three-month Electronic Medical Records Technology class, she got a part-time job at a Delaware Valley business transferring paper records to digital ones.

“The overall purpose of this is to provide short-term training to people who have been out of work or undertrained ... so they can get a job,” Dr. Jerry Parker, president of Delaware County Community College, explained.

The U.S. Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 allocated $2 billion through the U.S. Department of Labor for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training. The 14 community colleges in Pennsylvania received $20 million and Delaware County got $1.4 million.

The college’s first round of JobTrakPA training began in September and offers three areas of study: Electronic medical records technology; advanced manufacturing; and renewable energy, including geothermal, PV solar and building analyst expertise.

All of the fields come with a certification process to enable employers to recognize the level of knowledge the participants have obtained.

“In all of these programs, we have industry partnerships and advisory groups,” Parker said. “Students end up with the skills that they are looking for.”

Participants must be at least 18 years old and enrolled in the Pennsylvania CareerLink system to be eligible for the free, non-credit career-specific classes. In some cases, remedial education in basic literacy such as math or reading is also provided.

Some, like the electronic medical records class, are offered on the college’s main campus. Others, like the advanced manufacturing one that takes place in the Barclay Square Shopping Center in Upper Darby, are held off-site.

Program graduates have access to job coaching as well.

The college president also highlighted how this program can be a gateway to people pursuing an associate’s degree.

“If people didn’t realize they have to do this, they do now,” Parker said. “The nature of jobs have changed that their skills are obsolete. They realize simply having a high school diploma isn’t sufficient.”

Yet when they come to the college, the students see what is possible.

“A lot of adults come back just terrified to be in a classroom again,” Parker said. “Hopefully, they’ll realize that they can do this.”

Then, they can come back for additional trainings at cost, while adding up their class credits toward a degree.

For Dinofia, JobTrakPA was beneficial.

“I was really excited,” she said of when she got the call in May to say she was accepted. “I was getting nervous because I had been out of work for some time.”

After successfully completing the program and getting a job, Dinofia said she’d like to eventually work in health information systems in a hospital.

“It worked out really well for me,” she said. “There’s no way I would have gotten a call back had I not had this experience from this class. It was a huge help."

More information about at JobTrakPA at Delaware County Community College is available at or by calling 610-723-4095

New Reading Area Community College Degree Trains Students for Growing Healthcare Field

More than 9,100 people trained in Medical Records and Health Information Technology will be needed by 2016, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry.

That fact is one of the drivers of the new Electronic Health Records and Health Care Information Technology associate degree program introduced by Reading Area Community College this fall. Highlights of the program include:

  • Receiving training on both the relevant hardware and software relating to electronic medical records.
  • Opportunities to earn industry-approved Comp TIA A+ and Healthcare IT certificationsbuilt into the program.
  • Real-world work experience as part of the 135-hour practicum.

A unique aspect of this program is that students who are taking a credit course and wish to sit for the three IT certifications offered through the Schmidt Training and Technology Center can receive financial aid toward that extra cost. The certifications are: CompTIA A+, Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician 1, and CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician.

Additionally, students who have already received their IT certifications and wish to pursue this new degree can apply those transfer credits into the program.

Two other major factors driving the growth in this field are new medical privacy regulations and government mandates that all medical records should be captured electronically. In addition, this electronic information must be secured by people who have extensive training on dealing with sensitive personal information.

Those facts have led the State to expect that employment in Medical Records and Health Information Technology will grow by 16% in Pennsylvania by 2016. Some of those jobs may be in Greater Reading. Local employers, the Reading Hospital and Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center, are working closely with RACC on this new program. 

“Many programs do not bridge that gap between the IT and clinical sides,” said Adam Worrell, Information Technology Services Site Director at St. Joseph. “Having both the technology skills as well as the medical background is paramount for understanding and building EMR workflows that meet the needs of the clinical staff. The RACC leadership was open-minded and had clearly done their homework; educating themselves and realizing the potential benefits a program like this would produce not only for their students but for the community as a whole,” he added. Reading area hospitals estimate their patient records will be totally electronic within the next two to three yearsjust in time for the first graduating students. Worrell said there are numerous benefits to a career in Electronic Health Records, “While at a high level you’re working with technology hardware and software like others within the field, you’re implementing a solution that can allow clinicians to share valuable information, prevent potential safety problems, and overall improve the patient experience.”

Click here to read more about RACC and their programs:


Harrisburg Area Community College participates in job retraining for displaced workers
Wednesday, October 03, 2012, Harrisburg Area Community College hopes to train and place more than 800 individuals into jobs in the manufacturing, energy and health care industries over the next two years through its share of a federal $20 million job retraining grant awarded to the state's 14 community colleges. At a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda marking JobTrak PA Week in Pennsylvania, community college presidents from around the state talked about this effort that began in September 2011 will help fill the skill gap in a high-demand industries.

"Pennsylvania employers tell us that they have jobs waiting for workers with career-specific skills in several high-growth industries," said Alex Johnson, president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Collegesand president of the Community College of Allegheny County.

The funding will be directed to the community colleges to provide free or low-cost training programs for displaced workers and career coaches who will led them through course completion into job placement.

Kim Kaufman, interim dean of economic and workforce development at HACC, said HACC has three career coaches who are working out of the CareerLink offices in Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, York and Lebanon counties, but also service displaced workers from Perry County as well. The state's 14 community colleges, including Harrisburg Area Community College, are sharing a $20 million Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training grant. Through the JobTrakPA program, the colleges will use the grant to retrain the state's underemployed and unemployed workers to help place them into high-demand jobs. Taking part in the announcement at the Capitol Rotunda is Nick Neupauer, president of Butler County Community College.

For more information on this program, visit a CareerLink center and ask about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant program or visit theJobTrakPA website. The Local Workforce Investment Boards project there will be 4,800 job openings in advanced manufacturing, over 32,000 in energy production and conservation and more than 9,000 in healthcare information technology in the coming years in Pennsylvania.

Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 11:41 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 5:03 PM
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News - To view the full article and photos online click here.

Community Colleges Launch Rapid Retraining Program for Pennsylvania’s Displaced Workers
New program will train underemployed, unemployed Pennsylvanians, help place them into high-demand jobs

Harrisburg, PA - A statewide initiative announced On October 3 by Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges will help provide critical training to displaced workers in Pennsylvania, equipping them with the skills they need to get back to work in a high-demand, family-sustaining jobs.

The program, JobTrakPA, will use fast and affordable retraining to help PA’s displaced workers regain employment in today’s high-demand industries. JobTrakPA was made possible by a $20 million Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant awarded to the colleges last fall.

“Pennsylvania employers tell us that they have jobs waiting for workers with career-specific skills in several high-growth industries,” said Dr. Alex Johnson, president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and president of the Community College of Allegheny County. “Community colleges are part of a nationwide effort to provide a new skill-set to our workforce that will create career pathways for qualified workers in the shortest possible time.”

Currently, there are 15,000 TAA-eligible workers in Pennsylvania. The colleges, along with Pennsylvania CareerLink, are coordinating efforts to reach those workers and connect them to JobTrakPA for retraining and re-employment.

Three high-growth, in-demand industries have been identified as priorities by the colleges. Training in these industries will be offered throughout the state, but will vary by regional needs:
• Advanced Manufacturing;
• Energy Distribution, Production and Conservation; and
• Healthcare Information Technology.

Dr. Johnson noted that each of these industries is projected to grow substantially over the next few years, and highly-skilled workers are in demand.

“It is projected that there will be 4,800 job openings in advanced manufacturing in the coming years, over 32,000 job openings in energy distribution, production and conservation by 2016, and more than 9,000 job openings in healthcare information technology by 2016,” Dr. Johnson said. “As always, the community colleges stand poised and ready to respond to workforce needs. JobTrakPA will be a vital tool in getting Pennsylvanians trained and back to work.”

In addition to offering training, the community colleges have hired dedicated staff to help ensure students are successful at completing their courses. Following completion, staff will provide job placement assistance. The community colleges have already developed relationships with local employers who are ready to hire students who complete JobTrakPA training.

This program is funded in part/in whole by the U.S. Department of Labor - Employment and Training Administration
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