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SUNY Schenectady Earns $3 Million Grant to Continue to Educate Health Care Professionals

HPOG students and instructors.

HPOG students and instructors.


College will continue to train hundreds of eligible students for a variety of healthcare careers.

SUNY Schenectady has earned another highly competitive Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG 2.0) through the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The $3 million grant, an extension of the current HPOG 2.0 grant, will allow the College’s Office of Workforce Development and Community Education to continue to train hundreds of eligible students for a variety of healthcare careers.

Through the Upstate Partnership for Healthcare Pathways (UPHP), SUNY Schenectady provides education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals for the following: Behavioral Health Technician (BHT), Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Community Health Worker (CHW), EKG Tech, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Home Health Aide (HHA), Medical Administrative Assistant (MAA), Personal Care Aide (PCA), and Phlebotomy Technician. Students earn industry-recognized certificates and all training programs are designed as pathways to degrees and certificates so that students can advance in the healthcare field.  In addition to hands-on training, students are able to access support services including skills assessment, goal setting, job placement, and job retention. Students also receive assistance with childcare, transportation, and other support services based on their needs and availability of local resources.

Dr. Tiziana Rota is the Project Director for HPOG. “By partnering with other organizations, we have achieved a synergy that supports students throughout their journey,” Dr. Rota said. “The wraparound support of the grant, both social and academic, has moved participants and their families to a different level of success, and has proven to be a model for training and employment to be emulated in the future.” 

SUNY Schenectady earned the first HPOG 1.0 grant in 2010 and in 2015 received HPOG 2.0. Under the new grant, a consortium of three community colleges (SUNY Schenectady, SUNY Adirondack, and Fulton Montgomery) and two community-based organizations Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) and Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP) have achieved significant results. Many students started at the entry level and then advanced to nursing and technical education offered by colleges within the region.

Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady, described how the program positions students to successfully advance in health care after beginning their training with HPOG. “Often times simply having access to that first entry into education is so critical for students,” he said. “HPOG is so valuable because it provides the first step into health care training, as well as a clear pathway for HPOG participants to go on for further education to continue advancing in their health care careers.”

Since SUNY Schenectady began offering HPOG:

  • 1,837 students have been enrolled in the program
  • 2,214 training courses have been offered
  • More than 800 participants have been placed in jobs

Crystal Hodge, who has always had a calling to work in health care, was in the first CNA class that the College offered through HPOG in 2011, and went on to earn her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification through Maria College. She is now enrolled in the associate’s degree Registered Nursing (RN) program there and will continue on for her bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Crystal works as an LPN at The Glendale Home in Glenville.

“It sounds cliché, but I like helping people,” she said. “When I started in the HPOG program I had a young child and I needed financial stability. Through the program, I gained confidence in myself and my passion for nursing has just continued to grow. When you take pride in what you do every day, there is a big sense of satisfaction in that.”

HPOG 2.0, administered by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, was created under the Social Security Act to address the challenges of healthcare employers struggling to find qualified staff with the training and technical expertise required to provide the high quality of care their patients need.  This latest round of funding came from the CARES act as part of the latest stimulus package.

Ann Fleming Brown, Chair of SUNY Schenectady’s Board of Trustees, noted that opportunities through HPOG can be lifechanging for participants. “HPOG is a perfect example of how SUNY Schenectady empowers students to move forward and change the course of their lives,” she said. “The hands-on education and support they receive is invaluable and provides them with an excellent foundation to enter the healthcare field.”

Honorable Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature, commended the College on offering health care training, especially during this challenging time. “I’d like to congratulate SUNY Schenectady for receiving this grant, and for their constant vigilance and adaptability to the needs of local businesses and our community,” Jasenski said. “The pandemic has shown how much of a need for health care professionals there is, making this program vital to the health and wellness of our region.”

This document was supported by Grant 90FX0054 from the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS. HPOG is a study funded by the federal government which is being conducted to determine how these training opportunities help people improve their skills and find better jobs. During the study, all new eligible applicants will be selected by lottery to participate in these training opportunities. Not all eligible applicants will be selected to participate in these opportunities.