CCAC announces $65 million workforce development campaign with $5M lead gift from Highmark Health
Contributions from Pennsylvania Department of Education, Allegheny County, Highmark, PNC Foundation and others will expand and enhance workforce-related programs across campuses.
PITTSBURGH—Today, CCAC publicly launched its $65 million fundraising campaign, Pioneering Pittsburgh’s New Workforce, by announcing a $5 million lead gift from Highmark Health to fund a 10-year investment in workforce development. The campaign is designed to increase access to programs that prepare students for careers in high-demand fields that are driving this region’s economic growth. The announcement was made by Daniel Onorato, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Highmark Health and Chair of the Highmark Foundation, at an event that also included County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Chair and President of the PNC Foundation Sally McCrady, Allegheny General Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Marge DiCuccio, CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock, and CCAC Board Chairman Frederick Thieman.
“Our number one objective at CCAC is to fully prepare our students to be leaders in the workforce of today and tomorrow,” said Thieman. “The corporate and community support such as we are announcing today is the key to fulfilling our goal of equipping students for lucrative career opportunities in new and emerging fields.”
CCAC is well on the way toward meeting its $65 million fundraising goal, with more than $44 million already committed by county, state, foundation and corporate partners. In addition to Highmark Health’s donation, the Highmark Foundation is funding a pilot program for 15 current Allegheny General Hospital employees, Pittsburgh Public Schools CTE program participants or current North Side residents to complete CCAC’s two-year Registered Nurse (RN) program. Classes for admitted students will begin in January 2020.
“Today, Highmark Health is doubling down on its commitment to the people of our community,” said Onorato. “This investment will significantly impact the lives of North Side residents, bridge employment gaps and further develop a diverse health care workforce that mirrors the North Side community.”
The cornerstone of CCAC’s system-wide initiative is the construction of a new Workforce Training Center on CCAC’s Allegheny Campus on the North Side, which will further align the college with 21st century workforce demands. Thieman explained that the center will be designed to meet the workforce training needs identified by various regional studies, including the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Inflection Point report.
The new 60,000-square-foot workforce facility, budgeted at $40 million—for which the college is expected to break ground in the spring of 2020—will house programs for in-demand fields such as cybersecurity, information technology, autonomous and process technology, machine learning, advanced manufacturing and robotics—making these cutting-edge careers more accessible to prospective students residing in urban areas. The center will also feature experiential classrooms and labs, collaborative areas and a new culinary school for Pittsburgh’s rapidly expanding hospitality industry. Additional training areas for EMT, CNA, AEMT, paramedic and the creative arts will be adaptable to future trends in employer needs.
The campaign will provide $20 million for upgrades of workforce development capacity across all campuses, including the renovation of Chalfant Hall on Allegheny Campus, which will become CCAC’s new Center for Teaching and Learning. In addition, the campaign will also include $5 million for new college-wide programming.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald noted that the campaign will further CCAC’s goal of becoming the region’s premier provider of workforce training. “This effort is about making connections—between residents seeking work, the skills they need to succeed, identifying what employers need and want today and tomorrow—and ensuring that our students have the skills they need to match with those opportunities is woven throughout everything that we do at the college.”
The RN pilot program funded by the Highmark Foundation will support a dedicated retention coordinator to provide guidance to students balancing competing priorities of work, school and families. Nearly 80 percent of CCAC nursing program students work full- or part-time jobs, leaving students with lower financial means particularly disadvantaged. Due to a retiring baby boomer workforce and an increasing need for clinical care among senior citizen populations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than one million vacancies for registered nurses by 2022.
“Allegheny Health Network is taking an aggressive approach to addressing the impending nursing shortage,” said DiCuccio. “CCAC’s nursing and allied health programs have long produced skilled graduates prepared for careers at AHN hospitals, outpatient centers and diagnostic facilities. The Workforce Training Center and RN pilot program will not only reinforce our successful partnership with CCAC, but will also expand our region’s health care workforce.”
In addition, the PNC Foundation has made a generous $2.5 million grant in support of CCAC’s workforce initiatives. Other significant gifts have been made by Colcom Foundation, Duquesne Light, the McElhattan Foundation, Peoples Gas and Pitt Ohio.
“At PNC, we know communities are best served when organizations come together to solve complex problems like education, workforce preparation and economic development,” said McCrady. “CCAC’s workforce development campaign is a great example of that kind of collaboration, and we believe it is a powerful step toward addressing workforce readiness and education issues in our region.”
CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock noted that many of the region’s major employers are working with the college to develop a pipeline of skilled employees—including students from diverse backgrounds who have not yet experienced our region’s economic boom—to meet the needs of industry today and in the future.
“The partnerships we have developed with these companies, in fields including energy, health care, data analytics, technology and many others, have enabled us to build programs that fulfill employers’ requirements and prepare students for real jobs with excellent career prospects,” said Bullock.
The economic impact generated by the campaign promises to benefit county residents for years to come. According to the most recent report of the Economic Impact of the Community College of Allegheny County, CCAC returns $5.30 for every dollar Allegheny County invests in the college and supports one out of every 45 jobs in the region—making CCAC a great investment for the citizens of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Following today’s announcement held in the Milton Hall Rotunda, officials toured CCAC’s Allegheny Campus Nursing and Allied Health departments featuring new Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network signage.