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Bank of America Awards Grant to MCC to Help Close Workforce Gaps in the Health Care Industry

October 27, 2021

Funding will pay for education and training of aspiring certified nurse assistants across Finger Lakes region as employers experience staffing shortage

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Through the Bank of America Foundation’s $100,000 grant recently awarded to the Monroe Community College Foundation, low-income Finger Lakes region residents will receive financial support to start and complete MCC’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Training and Development Program, building a more secure future for themselves and helping fill employers’ critical demand for skilled health care professionals.

Approximately 96 percent of participants in MCC’s CNA program come from low-income households; a portion of that population does not qualify for existing workforce funding or other financial assistance. Federal and state financial aid does not support noncredit certificate programs, including MCC’s CNA Training and Development Program, so participants have limited options. Many students in the CNA program hold multiple jobs that offer no clear career advancement opportunities and make it difficult for these individuals to earn a livable wage.

“The Finger Lakes region is experiencing a great demand to fill health care positions. By joining forces with Monroe Community College, we are not only closing workforce gaps but also providing opportunities to individuals who traditionally face barriers to entering CNA programs,” said Colleen Matteson, president of Bank of America Rochester. “At Bank of America, we recognize that initiatives like MCC’s CNA Training and Development Program are integral to driving economic progress in our communities. We look forward to seeing how this program supports success among the students.”

The $100,000 grant award will enable an additional 40 residents over 11 months to go through the CNA training program in 2021-22 and gain employment locally in an in-demand field. Funds will cover their tuition, books and supplies.

“Now more than ever, we need well-trained and dedicated certified nurse assistants to serve the needs of the Finger Lakes region,” said Kristin Sine-Kinz, acting vice president for economic development, workforce and career technical education at MCC. “MCC is proud to provide this training which includes a career pathway leading to additional opportunities. These skilled professionals are essential to our workforce, and the financial support provided by the Bank of America Foundation is greatly appreciated by program participants.”

“This significant financial commitment by the Bank of America Foundation comes at the right time to help satisfy growing employer demand for skilled certified nurse assistants,” said Gretchen Wood, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the MCC Foundation. “This investment creates life-changing opportunities that will empower future MCC students to pursue the education they need to start rewarding careers, fulfill their potential and make a difference in the lives of residents and families throughout the Finger Lakes region.”

As the elderly population continues to grow and the demand for health care services increases, the Finger Lakes region has a high need for CNAs. About 647 annual job openings for CNAs are projected for the region, with an estimated 211 positions likely to go unfilled because of a talent shortage and workers approaching retirement age, according to MCC’s analysis of the labor market. The pandemic has exacerbated the staffing shortage in long-term care facilities across Monroe County and the state.

“At the Friendly Home, we seek to create meaningful career ladders in order to attract, recruit and retain the best of the best candidates,” said Michael Perrotta, vice president and administrator of the Friendly Home. “With a national shortage of health care professionals to serve the growing population of older adults, Bank of America Foundation’s support is so important in helping program participants overcome barriers and achieve their career goals. This funding provides pathways to progress for students, and enables health care providers such as the Friendly Home to address staffing challenges, and most importantly, to provide high quality, excellent and compassionate care to those we serve.”

Classes and hands-on training are held virtually and in person at the Downtown Campus, with clinical experiences completed offsite. Upon program completion, individuals must pass a certification exam to be licensed to practice in New York state. They can begin their careers in settings like senior living facilities, hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

Since its launch in 2019, more than 735 students have completed the CNA program, of which 95 percent have passed the state certification exam to work in the field.

MCC also offers a clinical bridge program and an advanced CNA program, providing a pathway for CNAs to advance in their career and achieve upward mobility.

Note to editors: If you are interested in pursuing this news, representatives from MCC and the Friendly Home can be available for interviews on Oct. 27-28.

Media Contact
Hency Yuen-Eng