Thursday, 08 October 2020 11:03

RichmondCC using COVID funding to reduce cost of short-term training classes

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HAMLET — Richmond Community College’s Board of Trustees was given an update at its monthly meeting Tuesday how the College is using funds from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund to make its short-term training classes more affordable for students.

Backed by GEER funding, the initiative branded “New Life, New Skills” has greatly reduced the cost of courses such as truck driver training, lineman, Basic Law Enforcement Training, welding and nurse aide.

“Our strategy has been to provide a discount for these programs to show students that new careers are available, affordable and accessible,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, RichmondCC president. “We have been expanding our offerings of these type of programs that lead to a high-demand, high-wage career in a short amount of time.”

The course for truck driver training was reduced from $1,876 to $499. Total cost for the Electric Lineman program went from $1,390 to $499. Cost for the BLET program was reduced from $1,500 to $199. Industrial Mechanics, Injection Molding Training and various welding classes that normally cost $180 are now being offered for $50.

The “New Life, New Skills” initiative has had an immediate impact on enrollment. Truck driver training doubled in class size, and RichmondCC had to add more Nursing Assistant I classes to the schedule to meet the demand for CNA training. More classes with reduced costs will be rolling out in January.

“Our goal with this funding was to reduce financial barriers and help put people back to work in new careers in a quick turnaround,” McInnis said.

The GEER Fund was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This flexible "emergency block grant" was designed to enable governors to decide how best to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the coronavirus national emergency.

In other news, the Board of Trustees was given a report from Emergency Medical Service Program Coordinator Rob McDuffie about the onset of this new associate degree program at RichmondCC.

“RichmondCC has seated its inaugural EMS class and the implementation and construction of the various aspects of the program are progressing well,” McDuffie said.

McDuffie has begun the process to obtain accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The College also hired a medical advisor for the EMS program.

“Dr. Douglas Nederostek practices in Scotland County and has an extensive resume in emergency medicine in both North and South Carolina,” McDuffie said. “We hope having a local medical advisor will bolster our relationship with our key service areas and hopefully increase enrollment from our bordering South Carolina counties.”