Saddleback College Receives $2.75 Million Federal Grant to Develop Healthcare Career Training Program

Saddleback College has been awarded a $2.75 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for the development of a new healthcare career readiness and training program at Saddleback College.  Of the 174 applications that were submitted nationwide, Saddleback College was one of 23 single applicant colleges to be awarded a TAACCCT grant.

The funding will assist the college’s division of health sciences and human services to launch Orange County Health Care Career Transitions (OCHC2T)—Fast Track to Success, a program to prepare current Saddleback students, unemployed workers, and displaced workers affected by foreign trade for high-demand allied health careers.   The program will also train existing allied health workers to respond to emerging career opportunities and requirements resulting from the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“This grant funding will provide the college an extraordinary opportunity for our students to prepare for meaningful jobs in the healthcare sector,” said Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “Participation in the Fast Track to Success program will eventually lead students to lucrative career opportunities while simultaneously creating partnerships in our local community.  We appreciate the collaboration between our college, Chancellor Gary Poertner, and District Director of Public Affairs Tere Fluegeman, which led to this extraordinary outcome for our students and community.” 

Dr. Donna Rane-Szostak, dean of health sciences and human services, stated, “This exciting and innovative health career training project will have a three-pronged approach:  to enhance existing Saddleback College allied health programs to create clearer pathways to high skill/high wage healthcare careers; broaden the skills of many already working in the healthcare field; and develop innovative  programs to train new healthcare workers for roles that are emerging as a result of the federal Affordable Care Act.”

Open to students, local businesses, and educators, OCHC2T—Fast Track to Success will be implemented at Saddleback College but will ultimately be based in part at the college’s proposed regional Center for Innovation in Healthcare Education at the South Orange County Community College District’s Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP), located on 68 acres of a repurposed Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin. The program builds on the college’s existing Healthcare Career Readiness: Fast Track to Success program, which gives incoming freshmen opportunities to learn about healthcare careers, including medical assistant, paramedic, emergency medical technician, phlebotomist, medical lab technician, nursing, and health information technologist.

The City of Santa Ana Workforce Investment Board (WIB) will serve as an entry point for dislocated workers and other interested adults to learn about the Fast Track to Success program, and will track employment and training outcome measures as defined locally by the WIB, and nationally by the Department of Labor.  Additionally, the WIB will work with an external evaluator and the college to determine program outcomes, best practices, and potential areas for improvement.

For additional information on the TAACCCT grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor, please visit