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Workforce Development Programs Meet Industry Demands

Short-term training programs connect employers with skilled workers


Community colleges play a unique role in filling local workforce needs—especially in Boston, with 90% of BHCC alumni remaining in Massachusetts after graduation. BHCC’s workforce development programs have long been crucial to providing employers with skilled graduates who are committed to improving their lives and their communities. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made such programs more important than ever.

The impacts of COVID-19 in communities of color and on those already living in poverty have proven greater than on other segments of the population, and their economic recovery has been slow. Meanwhile, Boston’s essential industries —information technology, healthcare, biotechnology and transportation—are working to rebuild and revamp their recruiting efforts. By aligning its workforce development programs with the needs of industry amidst the changes brought on by the pandemic, BHCC optimizes the economic potential for students, workers and employers.

“Our ultimate goal is to increase economic mobility on all fronts so that students do well and employers do well,” says Kristen McKenna, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development.

The College works closely with employer and workforce partner agencies to provide professional development programs, education opportunities, career counseling services and skilled labor training for pre-college and adult learners. These offerings connect skilled labor to careers in industries that desperately need them.

“Our mission is to provide career advancement opportunities and industry-leading training options to our communities,” says McKenna. “We focus on closing gaps in the current workforce, while furthering academic success and personal achievement for our students. And because we have the privilege of supporting diverse, passionate and innovative communities, our variety of program offerings are designed to be accessible, progressive and flexible.”

BHCC program offerings range from Google IT support to personal training to dental assistant to HR management. The College also partners with leading industry experts MassHire Career Centers and The Training Opportunity Program to help unemployed students develop the skills needed for a new job while collecting unemployment benefits. Scholarships may be available through our Rapid Recovery and Reemployment program for these opportunities.

Short-Term Training Programs

Looking toward economic recovery from the pandemic, BHCC quickly developed and launched a series of short-term training programs designed to help people who are unemployed or underemployed and those that need economic mobility get to work by learning the skills and earning an industry-recognized certification.

Part of the College’s Rapid Recovery and Reemployment initiative, these short-term training programs include a Cisco Networking Technology Certification course that prepares students for a network administrator position in less than eight weeks, Information Technology (IT) Support Technician with A+ Certification, and various certifications in the health professions. These include training and certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems, Dental Assisting, and Medical Interpreting.

“This initiative is BHCC’s response to the growing need in our community for opportunities to fast-track learning with an accelerated program and industry-recognized credentials,” McKenna says.

The short-term training programs will be offered Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 at no cost to students who are eligible. 

Through special grant funding, BHCC will cover the cost of tuition, course materials and exam fees for those who are unemployed, Pell-grant eligible, or demonstrate financial need. Career counseling and job placement support will also be provided to students enrolled in the programs

Certificates for Flourishing IT Jobs

In tune with the changing needs of the technology market, BHCC recently launched two new IT programs. Last fall the College began offering a five-course Google IT Professional Support Certificate as part of Google’s Grow with Google initiative to prepare students for an entry-level job in the fast-growing field of IT support. It covers key topics from troubleshooting and customer service to networking, system administration, and security and operating systems. Students can complete coursework at their own pace, and earn their certificate in 2.5 months with 20 hours per week of work, or in eight months with six hours per week of work. Training vouchers may be available for Massachusetts residents who are unemployed through MassHire.

Participants in the certificate program also have the opportunity to learn rom Google employees with unique backgrounds and perspectives whose own foundation in IT support served as a jumping-off point for their careers. Upon completion, students are able to apply for entry-level IT positions with industry employers such as Cognizant, GE Digital, Hulu, Info Says, Intel and Sprint.

Also, through a collaboration with Socratic Arts, a leader in cybersecurity training education, BHCC’s office of Workforce and Economic Development launched a Cybersecurity Training Certificate in 2021 to meet growing industry demand. Emsi, a national labor analytics firm, recently revealed the United States has less than half of the cybersecurity candidates it needs to keep up with the burgeoning demand.

The Cybersecurity program is a progression of three courses designed to impart a strong foundation of defensive cybersecurity skills in 18 weeks of study at 25 hours per week. In three 6-week courses, students learn to think like an attacker by exploiting a defense contractor’s website and develop skills in advanced network traffic analysis, digital forensics and incident response.

Cybersecurity students work through 1-2 tasks per week in a cloud-based environment with the support of a knowledge industry mentor and extensive online learning resources. Tasks are embedded in the realistic, but fictional, context of work as an entry-level employee of a government operations agency. Scholarships for this certificate program may be available through our Rapid Recovery and Reemployment program.

Our ultimate goal is to increase economic mobility on all fronts so that students do well and employers do well.

-Kristen McKenna, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

Affordable Paths to In-Demand Health Careers

Boston’s healthcare and social assistance industries account for over 18% of total employment, with five of the 10 largest employers being hospitals, and the demand for skilled and diverse healthcare professionals is higher than ever in this pandemic era. BHCC is prepared to meet the growing demand by providing affordable, quality education in the health sciences field.

BHCC offers a broad array of courses and programs geared to in-demand health careers including nursing, medical imaging, paramedics, pharmacy technician, surgical technology, medical assisting and interpreting. Certification programs are also available in Phlebotomy, Dental Assisting and EKG Technology. Graduates of these associate degree and certificate programs are equipped with the skills and knowledge to find immediate work in high-demand health fields or to transfer seamlessly into health degree programs to further their education, ensuring their success in competitive health careers now and in the future.

Among BHCC’s health programs is our Cardiac Sonography program, the only one in Massachusetts public higher education. This accelerated program prioritizes both quality in-class instruction and hands-on laboratory training. Students have the opportunity to work with industry-grade, state-of-the-art medical apparatus—including ultrasound machines, radiological systems, x-ray imaging technology and remote simulation equipment—to familiarize themselves with the very technologies they will encounter in their careers. Many graduates of this program work at Boston’s top hospitals.

Workforce and Economic Development Program Offerings

  • Adult education and college transition programs
  • Test prep courses
  • Online and hybrid certification programs in Technology and Healthcare
  • Career advancement, customized training programs and employer counseling
  • Language Institute with courses in English Language Learning(ELL), Spanish and more
  • Entrepreneurship and small business support

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