LUMBERTON — Robeson Community College’s efforts to stimulate the local economy has received a $3.4 million boost from the federal government.
School officials announced on Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the college a grant that will go toward developing and expanding training programs in health care, engineering, manufacturing and transportation.
The $3.4 million grant is part of a $25 million grant program called BOOST, which stands for Building Better Occupation Outcomes with Simulation Training — New Pathways to Healthcare Careers.” The grants will be spread among six community colleges in North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama to provide training and employment opportunities in high-skill professions to a rural area that has been plagued with the loss of low-skill textile and manufacturing jobs, especially since the recession in 2007.
The grant will pay for the hiring of personnel, including faculty for Medical Assisting and Health Information Technology. The grant will also pay for 3D setup in some classrooms and five mannequins for use in the school’s simulation hospital rooms and hybrid simulation training rooms.
“Faculty can program them to have their blood pressure go up or say something hurts,” RCC President Pamela Hilbert said. “They’re going to be more complex [than the ones we have now] so we can integrate training” with nursing and EMT programs.
The announcement was made in a statement from U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents the 8th District, which includes most of Robeson County.
“This is great news for Robeson Community College and our community,” Hudson said. “Our community college plays a vital role in training workers to meet the needs of employers, and this grant allows them to continue equipping students with the skills they need to get a good job.”
Hilbert said the grant will help RCC students prepare for 21st century jobs.
“… I would like to thank Congressman Hudson for his help to provide critical investments in education and create job opportunities in Robeson County,” Hilbert said in a statement. “This grant will foster innovative training programs, providing our students with the tools needed for high-skill, high-wage job opportunities.”