New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP)
In 2014, the US Department of Labor awarded a $15 million Round 4 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to Bergen Community College as the lead of a 12 college consortium in New Jersey. This grant builds on previous collaborations between many of the consortium colleges as part of the NJ Health Professions Consortium funded by a US Department of Health and Human Services Health Professions Opportunity Grant. The TAACCCT grant includes the following activities designed to strengthen the colleges’ programs to better meet student and industry needs:
- Develop career pathways through articulating noncredit courses to credit, development of competency based education, implementation of prior learning assessments, and development of articulation agreements
- Increased opportunities for hands-on learning through the purchase of new equipment and the integration of simulations in instruction
- Improved student preparation through use of EdReady for basic skills development and Smart Sparrow adaptive learning technology
- Improved student career awareness and advising through use of Smart Start curriculum and hiring career success coaches to advise students using real time job information
- Expanded employer engagement through statewide leadership council and local collaborations to engage with employers
Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center (EERC) is participating as the third-party evaluator for the duration of the grant. The evaluation utilizes a mixed methods approach to gather data from multiple perspectives on grant implementation and outcomes, including site visits and surveys of colleges, employers and workforce partners. It also includes a quasi-experimental analysis of student completion and employment outcomes. The evaluation examines in-depth each of the distinct approaches of the grant including hands-on learning and academic preparation, career pathways development, student career awareness and advising, and employer engagement.