ACC, Capital IDEA Partner to Accelerate Entry to Healthcare Careers

Austin Community College and Capital IDEA are partnering to help more students succeed in health sciences and accelerate their entry into the healthcare workforce.

Through a $2 million Department of Labor grant for the college’s Health Professions Academy, the organizations are developing a new approach to prerequisite courses for health sciences programs and enabling students to start working in the healthcare field from the outset of their education.

“With the new medical school and teaching hospital coming to Austin in just a few years, it is more important than ever to provide students better pathways into health sciences careers,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “The demand for workers with the right skills is only going to grow. By partnering with Capital IDEA, we’re able to give students extra support to reach their goals.”

Three ACC students/Capital IDEA participants shared their experiences during Tuesday's panel discussion.

At the beginning of the program, students will complete a short-term certification to become a certified nurse assistant or phlebotomist – enabling them to work in the healthcare industry while continuing their education. The Health Professions Academy will incorporate redesigned, interactive curriculum and use technology to individualize a student’s experience in prerequisite courses such as biology, anatomy, and physiology – with the new course elements expected to raise students’ success rates and lower their time to graduation.

Capital IDEA will provide personalized assistance and support to eligible students – about a third of those enrolled in the Health Professions Academy.

“The prerequisites are difficult courses and are the biggest bottleneck in healthcare education,” says Juan Garza, chair of the Capital IDEA Board of Directors. “By making these courses more compact and delivering them more flexibly, we will increase and accelerate student success.

Nearly half the jobs the new Austin medical school is expected to create will require an associate degree or other post-secondary training.

The program is being developed in partnership with six other community colleges from across the nation and their non-profit partners, all recipients of Department of Labor grant funds. Representatives from those partner organizations will join ACC and Capital IDEA Tuesday, Sept. 24, to hear from participating students and tour the new Biology Innovations Lab, a specially designed facility at Eastview Campus where Health Professions Academy prerequisite courses will be taught. The public is welcome to attend the presentation, beginning at 9 a.m. in the first-floor Multipurpose Room of the Lifeworks Building, 835 North Pleasant Valley Rd., adjacent to ACC’s Eastview Campus (3401 Webberville Rd.).

For information on enrolling, contact Alice Sessions at

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