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Press Release

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Miami Dade College Selected to Lead First-Ever STEM Regional Collaborative in State of Florida

Miami, Feb. 26, 2014 - Miami Dade College (MDC) and the Florida College System have been selected by Achieving the Dream, Inc. and Jobs for the Future to lead a first-ever Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Regional Collaborative. With technical assistance from Achieving the Dream (ATD) and Jobs for the Future (JFF), the collaborative will work to strengthen high demand, middle-skill STEM pathways; improve regional coordination among community colleges and their workforce partners; inform state leaders on policy changes that can support stronger STEM pathways; and foster cross-state learning and collaboration.

The regional collaborative will allow MDC to create a psychiatric technician curriculum, and revamp in-demand medical coder/billing specialist and health informatics specialist programs to comply with the new Affordable Care Act. In developing the proposed program pathways, MDC will use its CBD framework to develop the relevant support processes, including support and transition for second-language learners and students in developmental education. The first class of students is expected to enroll in Fall 2014.

"The strategies we are developing are scalable and sustainable. They will positively impact the South Florida workforce and will serve as a statewide and national model, helping to advance important statewide goals for STEM education and employment," said Dr. Mark Everett, Dean of MDC's School of Health Sciences.

The three areas being developed are:
  • Psychiatric Technician which provides qualified care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, and can lead to opportunities or formal training and credentials, including: state licensures, practical nursing, registered nursing, or advanced degrees in areas such as special education or social work.
  • Medical Coder/Billing Specialist, which trains students to translate diagnoses and procedures into numerical codes using the International Classification of Diseases and Current Procedural Terminology. Students who successfully complete all requirements and receive their certification will be eligible for college credits towards the A.S. Degree in Health Information Management/Technology offered at MDC, and may apply to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders for permission to sit for their exam(s).
  • Health Informatics Specialist, a two-year A.S. degree program with 67 credits, whereby students successfully completing the curriculum can apply 21 credits towards the Health Information Management/Technologist AS degree Program, and graduates are eligible to apply to AHIMA for permission to participate in the examination process.

"In addition to streamlining these vital STEM programs, MDC is working with Miami Dade County Public Schools, to align our new programs with high schools that have health sciences academies, so students can seamlessly transition into these areas of career demand," added Dr. Everett.

This initiative is funded through a $700,000 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (www.helmsleytrust.org), in collaboration with ATD and JFF.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. (ATD) is a national nonprofit that is leading the nation's most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success in higher education history. The ATD National Reform Network includes leaders from more than 200 colleges and 15 policy states. Ultimately, the Network helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) works to ensure that all lower-income young people and workers have the skills and credentials needed to succeed in our economy. JFF designs and drives the adoption of innovative, scalable approaches and models-solutions that catalyze change in our education and workforce delivery systems.

Miami Dade College (MDC) is the higher education institution with the largest undergraduate enrollment in the America, with more than 176,000 students. It is also the nation's top producer of associate in arts and science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college's seven campuses and two outreach centers offer more than 300 academic pathways leading to baccalaureate degrees, associate in arts and science degrees and numerous career training certificates leading to in-demand jobs. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs are national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live Arts Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a major sculpture park and large art gallery and theater systems. MDC has served more than 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960. For more information, please visit www.mdc.edu.

Media-only contacts: Juan Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611, ; Tere Estorino Florin, director of media relations, 305-237-3949, ; Sue Arrowsmith, media specialist, 305-237-3710, ; Barbra Gonzalez, director of communications of Student Achievement Initiatives, 305-237-7187,