Bridgeport, CT - On Wednesday, October 14, Housatonic Community College (HCC) celebrated the graduates of its first-ever accelerated Sterile Processing Technician (SPT) program. Ten former hospitality and service workers whose jobs were displaced by Coronavirus entered the no-cost pilot program last month to quickly retool their skillsets and match in-demand job opportunities in the healthcare field.
In just seven weeks, through a combination of online and hands-on instruction in HCC’s state-of-the-art sterilization simulation lab, students quickly trained for their new career. Upon graduation and passing licensure exams, they will enter jobs already lined up with program partners.
A bold initiative, the progressive fast-track pilot program is all thanks to an innovative collaboration between HCC Foundation, Bank of America, and Social Venture Partners. Working with Career Resources in Bridgeport, the organizations seized the opportunity to band together and rapidly retrain laid-off workers for understaffed positions in the healthcare sector and drive economic growth across the region.
“Supporting our clients, teammates and communities greatly impacted by the health crisis remains Bank of America's top priority in Southern Connecticut,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “Our partnership with Social Venture Partners, Career Resources and the Housatonic and Norwalk Community Colleges connects displaced workers to immediate job opportunities and lays the groundwork for future success in industries that offer greater opportunities for economic mobility and long-term financial stability.”
“COVID-19 was an obstacle that we were all confronted with and we took this great opportunity given to us and turned that obstacle into success,” said Daniela Roldan, a program graduate from Bridgeport.
The reskilling program didn’t just entice students, it also drew swift interest from area hospitals. Partnerships for clinical and hiring arrangements were put in place for the SPT graduates with Stamford Health, Yale-New Haven Health and Nuvance Health.
“I would like to thank our generous community partners. Their responsiveness to creative problem solving created a shared purpose, allowing HCC to offer life-changing opportunities, while improving labor shortages in Connecticut’s healthcare sector,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.
“During this time of unprecedented challenges, there is also potential for creative solutions. Public-private collaborations can drive innovation, and are key to creating pipelines to talent. I encourage our business community to reach out to discuss the possibilities,” said HCC Foundation Executive Director Kristy Jelenik.