DCCCD, Department of Labor announce $12 million apprenticeship grant

Coordinators of the grant, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta (center), DFWHC’s Harmona Epps (third from left) and the DFWHC Foundation’s Sally Williams (fifth from right) pose for photographs during yesterday’s press conference.

Dallas County Community College District is the recipient of a $12 million apprenticeship grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that will promote successful training and serve as a model for programs to strengthen the local workforce with trained, credentialed workers.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta was on hand to make the announcement yesterday at El Centro College’s Paramount Health Building. Executives of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital (DFWHC) Council and the DFWHC Foundation were also present, having served as the intermediary early in the project to bring North Texas hospitals aboard.

Acosta participated in a roundtable discussion about the importance of apprenticeships in workforce development with the district’s chancellor, Dr. Joe May, other DCCCD leaders, healthcare industry advocates, community, corporate partners and students.

“As a district, DCCCD’s mission is to be an economic engine that prepares workers for long-term careers earning a living wage,” said May. “This grant is an important step toward this mission and reaching our goal to train 50,000 apprentices by 2030.”

The $12 million grant will support training for 7,500 apprentices in approximately 50 critical healthcare occupations for healthcare providers, locally and nationally. Of the 7,500 apprentices, it is projected nearly 3,700 will be women, more than 2,500 people of color, and over 1,100 transitioning service members, military spouses, and veterans.

“Apprenticeships in healthcare are not as prevalent as in other industries, and this initiative is meant to change that. Through partnerships with local healthcare systems, national providers and the American Hospital Association, we are creating a strong infrastructure to serve these students and provide them with career-making and life-changing opportunities,” May said.

The healthcare industry is highly reliant on H1-B visas to fill employment gaps, and apprenticeships have not been a traditional method of finding employees.

“We worked closely with healthcare industry leaders to design a program that will create a new base of employees, as well as upskill those already employed by them. By increasing the number of apprenticeships available, we can significantly grow the healthcare workforce and provide a proven pathway to great careers for our Dallas County citizens,” said Mark Hays, the district’s vice chancellor of workforce and economic development.

Among the new or expanded apprenticeships are nurses, cardiovascular technicians, flight medics, radiology technicians and behavioral health technicians.

The project’s industry partners also include: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Health Resources, VA Healthcare System, Children’s Health, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Methodist Health System, Capital Senior Living, Medical City Healthcare, Acadian Ambulance Services and JPS Health Network.

The Dallas County Community College District, founded in 1965, comprises seven individually-accredited colleges: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. All DCCCD colleges offer online learning. The district serves more than 83,000 credit and 25,000 continuing education students during the fall and spring semesters.