Implementing the Virginia RETHINKS Health Sciences Education TAACCCT Grant

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
May 22, 2015
Authors
Margaret Sullivan, Brittany English, Alyson Burnett, and Jillian Berk

Key Findings:

  • Career coaches have strengthened collaboration between colleges and the workforce development system to better serve clients, but sustaining these connections will require additional resources after the grant period.
  • College-specific barriers related to resources, time, and local labor market conditions limited the implementation of the proposed statewide E-HLTH career studies certificate.
  • Colleges are adopting new technology platforms to increase efficiencies for students, faculty, and administrators, but they face challenges sustaining use of these platforms after the grant ends. 
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded Tidewater Community College a $24 million Round 1 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to implement Virginia RETHINKS Health Sciences Education in all 23 community colleges in the state system. To better prepare students for jobs in health care industries, Virginia designed the grant to achieve three broad goals: (1) improve student outcomes; (2) build connections to the workforce; and (3) improve efficiencies at colleges within the system. Specific strategies included redesigning and creating curriculum in development education and health-related courses, offering in-person counseling and mentoring to help students navigate careers and succeed in the classroom, and launching several technology platforms to help students navigate careers and coursework and help faculty and staff to support students in the pursuit of these goals. Drawing on data from site visits, focus groups, telephone interviews   and document review, the study examines the implementation of each of the strategies and the challenges, successes, sustainability approaches, and lessons learned across the strategies.