Getting to Know Your Community College Consortium, Part 3: Region C

Norma Morganti | April 6, 2011

As part of a series on the Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals Program, this blog post highlights the activities and accomplishments of the students and community colleges in Region C.

Region C 101

By: Norma Morganti, Executive Director,  Midwest Community College Health Information Technology (HIT) Consortium

Region C’s Midwest HIT Consortium Exit Disclaimer provides training in six workforce roles Exit Disclaimer to support electronic health record (EHR) implementation. Through leading-edge curriculum and a program consisting of both campus-based training and distance learning, the consortium’s goal is to recruit and train at least 2,700 health informatics professionals and students annually.

To carry out this mission, our consortium has received a total of $14,897, 896 in grants for 17 large innovative community colleges in 10 Midwest states to develop or improve non-degree health IT training programs that students can complete in six months or less. The six-month programs of the health IT curriculum focus on job-specific training that incorporates “hard” technical skills with “soft” skills such as problem solving, decision making, and time management. The classes are geared for seasoned professionals and students looking to gain skills in the health IT arena.

Led by Cleveland, Ohio-based Cuyahoga Community College, Region C’s participating states are:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

How Region C Is Making a Difference

Our programs will train thousands of people for new job opportunities. The Midwest Community College HIT Consortium is addressing a pressing need in the job market and health care marketplace. Over the next two years, we will provide training to thousands of people to work in the growing field of health IT. By providing scholarships and tuition reimbursements for incumbent or dislocated workers with backgrounds in health care or information technology, we will help residents of our region get back to productive, fulfilling work. 

1. Our courses provide long-term impact from short-term commitment

The Midwest Community College Health Information Technology Consortium’s training program provides a systematic, efficient, community-based means to help individuals become health IT professionals. 

2. Our program offers an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives

Health IT professionals will help improve the nation’s health care system and patient care, which will benefit all of us. Participating in the Midwest Community College HIT Consortium offers students a chance to be part of something special.

3. Our consortium provides access to leading-edge education from innovative colleges

The Midwest Community College HIT Consortium represents 17 of the largest and most innovative colleges in the country. Students, and ultimately their employers, benefit from our collaborative approach and access to leading-edge curriculum, experienced professors, and the choice to take classes at any of the consortium colleges.

The curriculum of technical courses, job-specific training, and general workforce skills training is designed to train students to become well-rounded employees. Our consortium provides a number of benefits to health care and software/IT employers, including:

  • Connections to the state of the art and current trends in health IT
  • Enhanced relationships with local community colleges and their faculty
  • Familiarity with, and access to, available local job candidates
  • Partnership opportunities to provide hands-on, real-world learning opportunities for students

About Our Students

Many of our students are mid-career professionals looking to expand their skill sets; others are seeking new opportunities after losing jobs in the recession. For example, Michael Taiwo, 53, is enrolled in the program at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. Taiwo is a former nurse who worked at a company that develops software for hospitals until 2009. He has a master’s in management information systems and heard about the consortium through a local networking club. Taiwo sees the consortium program as the logical next step in developing his career melding IT and health care. He participates in Normandale’s distance learning program, studying from home several hours a day, and hopes to earn his certificate in May or June.

Another student, Freida Martin from Minneapolis, MN works as a quality assurance manager and business analyst at an IT consultancy and is also a licensed attorney. Looking for opportunities to combine her IT and legal background, Martin now dedicates up to 25 hours a week to one of our college’s online courses.

In St. Louis, MO Michael Seals capitalized on his IT background and expertise to train as a Practice Workflow Redesign Specialist. Harnessing his experience in computer support, as well as years in IT business ownership and analyst work, Seals retooled his skills and knowledge for his career in health information technology. “The HIT program provides an IT professional the basis to appreciate the health care environment and enables them to be highly productive within a clinical setting,” he explains. Seals has already found employment with Mercy Health Systems supporting its implementation efforts.

Since we began training in September 2010, the Midwest Community College HIT Consortium has enrolled more than 1,600 students to date, with new students enrolling every month. Some of our early cohorts of students are beginning to graduate from our training programs now. We are actively engaging with our local and regional employers to help fill their HIT workforce needs with these talented graduates. We are working to connect our employers with our student graduates via the Region C website, www.mwhit.org Exit Disclaimer.

For More Information

Can you see yourself as a student participating in one of the consortium programs in Region C? Go to http://www.mwhit.org Exit Disclaimer for more information. Not sure which colleges are participating near you? Contact the consortium leader for your geographical area.

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