Cantwell Applauds Grant for 8 Washington Colleges to Train Workers for Health IT Careers

$11.8 million grant to launch health IT training programs at 8 Washington community colleges, help train 1,700 workers in state

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) congratulated the Health e-Workforce Consortium for receiving an $11.8 million grant to develop and launch a health information technology (IT) training program. The consortium consists of eight colleges in Washington state – led by Bellevue College – and Northern Virginia Community College.

In August 2012, Cantwell sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor in support of the consortium’s grant application.                                                                                                 

“This grant is great news for Washington state and the health IT industry,” said Cantwell. “The training will prepare veterans and other workers to succeed in a high-demand field with a huge potential for job growth and cement Washington state as a leader in the health IT industry.”

The new health IT training program will launch in 2013. Approximately 2,000 people will participate during its first three years – about 1,700 of whom will be in Washington state. The consortium will develop several new credentials for students to earn, including an Associate in Applied Science degree in Health IT and professional certificates in healthcare analytics and health IT security.

Bellevue College is leading the consortium. Its other members are Bellingham Technical College, Clark College, Clover Park Technical College, Pierce College, Renton Technical College, Spokane Community College, Whatcom Community College and Northern Virginia Community College. The consortium will also develop online materials to help other colleges across the nation develop similar curriculum, and work closely with private sector companies in the health IT industry and regional Workforce Development Boards.

“We at Bellevue College are delighted to receive this important grant, which will enable our campus and seven other community colleges in Washington state to retrain veterans and dislocated workers for good-paying jobs in the growing field of health IT,” said Laura Saunders, interim president of Bellevue College.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of health IT jobs in the country will increase by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020 – much faster than the average for other occupations.

In 2010, Cantwell announced that Bellevue College received a separate grant to train students in health IT. This grant helped form the college’s academic foundation that this grant and new program will build upon.