HCN News & Notes

STCC Awarded $500,000 for Health Science, Electrical Engineering Technology Programs

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will apply $500,000 in state funding to enhance programs in health science and electrical engineering technology and better prepare students who are planning careers in these growing industries.

Called the Skills Capital Grant, the funding allows STCC to acquire the newest technologies to educate students and expand career education opportunities. STCC will use the grant to boost the two programs by acquiring:

• New medical patient-simulation training equipment, which allows a larger number of students to enroll in the health science program; and

• Robotic arms for the electrical engineering technology program, which will provide hands-on experience on equipment students will encounter in advanced manufacturing facilities.

STCC President John Cook said the investment in the programs will help fill a regional demand for trained workers in the fields of healthcare and electrical engineering technology.

“With nearly 100 degree and certificate programs, STCC has developed numerous career pathways for students to ensure they have the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience to succeed,” Cook said. “We are thrilled to have received funding for health science and electrical engineering technology to help bridge the skills gap. We are grateful to the Baker-Polito administration for their support. This funding will allow us to expand opportunities to more students.”

Christopher Scott, dean of the School of Health & Patient Simulation, said the grant will be used for equipment that directly helps students prepare for careers in the healthcare field.

“Last year, we launched a new health science degree that exposes students to a variety of healthcare careers in an immersive and rich learning environment,” Scott said. “A key component of the program is the use of patient simulators, which allow us to recreate a clinical environment. Students immerse themselves in the experience. They learn in a safe, controlled environment without running the risk of harming a patient. We are excited to be able to add new training equipment.”

Rick Jagodowski, chair of the electrical engineering technology program at STCC, said the grant will allow his department to provide students experience and training with robots commonly found in the fields of advanced and automated manufacturing.

“Our program provides graduates with the skills necessary to become technicians in the high-demand fields of automation, robotics, mechatronic and electro-mechanical systems design, installation, programming, and repair,” Jagodowski said. “In addition to the new robots, our department will use some of the funds to acquire trainers to augment our PLC [programmable logic controls] and fluid power lab equipment.”

The Baker-Polito administration announced that STCC, other colleges, high schools, and educational institutions in Massachusetts had received a total of $12 million in Skills Capital Grants.

According to the administration, the goal of the grants, which range from $50,000 to $500,000, is to help high schools, colleges, and other workforce-training organizations invest in the most up-to-date equipment to give their students an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or area of study. These grants cover a broad array of fields, from construction and engineering to healthcare and hospitality.

“It is encouraging to see schools that are awarded Skills Capital Grants put the funds toward career pathways to give Massachusetts students experience and expertise in industries that are expanding in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These beneficial programs will give thousands of students a head start on prosperous careers, and we look forward to seeing their progress.”