North Shore Community College has received $1,000,000 from the Commonwealth for technology and equipment to expand the Bertolon Simulation Health Care Center of Excellence in Danvers to support a wide array of Allied Health and Human Services certificate and degree programs as well as industry credential training.
The Bertolon Health Care Simulation Center was made possible by the generosity of Beverly residents Henry and Donna Bertolon, Class of 1972, who in 2018 gave NSCC $1.765 million, its largest donation ever. NSCC students receive real-time, hands-on training offered through simulation labs at the Bertolon Center. Simulation allows students to use their knowledge and skills at a high level which allows for applied learning in a safe environment.
“This project will result in the premier simulation center on the North Shore. Moreover, it will nourish the long-term health of the regional economy by supporting one of its most urgent regional workforce needs,” said NSCC President Dr. William Heineman.
He added, “Over the last year, NSCC has built a new strategic plan that focuses on improving the life outcomes of our students and meeting the most important community needs. A crucial pillar of the plan is the creation of Centers of Excellence for academic programming that will serve regional employer demand. The Bertolon Health Care Simulation Center of Excellence is the exemplar of this concept, but we must expand it to significantly widen the pipeline of trained professionals into the health care industry.”
In addition, “Our Centers of Excellence will not only be priorities for college human and capital resources, but will also involve deep collaboration with employers. My conversations with the CEOs of the North Shore’s largest health employers—including Beth Israel Lahey Health/Beverly Hospital, Mass General-Brigham/Salem Hospital, and Lynn Community Health Center—are centered on how we work together to remove bottlenecks in the education and training of nurses, respiratory therapists, radiological technicians, surgical techs and other urgently needed professions. The shortage of clinical placements are a huge challenge and the expanded use of high-fidelity simulation is the answer — if we have a facility large and well-equipped enough to expand our programs. Our employer partners also wish to pursue training of their existing staff in such a state-of-the-art simulation space and may provide instructors as well,” the President noted.
Simulation (SIM) training/scenarios are an important training component in health services education as mock simulation provides students experience with real-world scenarios they will encounter in workforce settings once they complete their education/training. Studies have shown that such training better prepares students for real-world clinical practice.
The existing simulation lab on the Danvers campus has exceeded capacity by 35% since
its inception in
2019 with the program outgrowing existing lab space. Expanding the SIM program to five additional labs/support rooms will meet existing and projected student growth and provide interdisciplinary simulation education across both credit and noncredit programs in the Nursing/Allied Health and Humans Services pathway programs.
The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created in 2015 to bring together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development to align education, economic development, and workforce policies in order to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth. The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnerships with local businesses, as well as align curriculum and credentials with industry demand to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.
“Our goal with the Skills Capital Grants was to align valuable state resources, build better educational opportunities, and increase access to workforce development training, and we have successfully accomplished those goals,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Since taking office, we expanded access to career training for both high school students and adults, launched the Career Technical Initiative - turning vocational schools into three shifts-a-day training facilities - and expanded STEM education opportunities for young people.”
Since 2015, 538 grants totaling $204 million have been awarded through the Skills Capital Grant program.
President Heineman concluded, “We are incredibly grateful to Governor Baker and his administration for making this funding available. It will truly be a game changer for the health care industry on the North Shore.”