News Release

Published on Friday, November 18, 2011

Western Technical College will be able to give extra guidance to dislocated workers transitioning into healthcare programs, thanks to money from a recent federal grant. The three-year $12.69 million grant was awarded to a consortium of seven colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, including Western and two other Wisconsin Technical Colleges.

Western’s $2.1 million share of the “Bridges2Healthcare” grant will be used to create pathways and bridges for student success as they enter the healthcare field. The college hopes that redesigned student services and developmental education made possible by the funds will lead to better retention and achievement rates.

Some of Western’s specific goals include expanding classroom access within several healthcare career paths, designing a new instructional model for Anatomy and Physiology, and providing more intensive advising, tutoring, and intervention efforts. By September 2014, Western plans to increase the number of certificate and degree holders in areas of Personal Care Workers, Nursing Assistants, Central Service Technicians, Surgical Technologists, Human Service Associates, and Medication Aides.

“These new initiatives wouldn’t be possible without this grant,” said Lee Rasch, Western president. “The funds will allow the college to provide needed training that will open doors into good paying careers in healthcare. Ultimately our entire region will benefit.”

“We will be working closely with our collaborative partners to make the new training and curriculum accessible to dislocated adult workers in the region,” added Sandra Schultz, Western’s Bridges2Healthcare project coordinator. “We look forward to working with local healthcare employers to ensure our graduates have what the local job market needs.”

The grant is funded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, a program created in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The Bridges2Healthcare project is part of a $500 million national effort announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, together with the U.S. Department of Education, to support community colleges with job training and workforce development for dislocated workers who are changing careers. This is the first installment in a $2 billion, four-year investment. More than 200 community colleges applied for the grants, and 49 were chosen to receive the money so far.

For more information about additional Western Technical College programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit the website at