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Higher Education Funding Bill Advances

Submitted by: Randy Morris, Randy Morris, MCCA State Lobbyist
The 2015 Minnesota Legislative Session has three weeks to go - a May 18th adjournment looms.  The only task the Legislature must complete is to have a 2015 - 2017 budget in place.  Higher Education is a $3b piece of the puzzle.
SF 5, the Senate Omnibus bill, has passed the Senate Floor and HF 845, the House Omnibus, awaits House Floor action.  Then the bills will head on to a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the two bills.  And there are differences:

  • State Grant Funding
  • Living and Miscellanous Expenses (LME) and Tuition Caps
  • Tuition Freeze for public schools

Notably, neither bill alters state grant eligibility for institutions or requires new mandates for enrollment disclosure to students.
Minnesota Career College Association goals for this session include maintaining student choice with state grant dollars following the student, advocating for increases in the LME and two year caps and providing the Higher Education Committees with our sector's outcomes.
I encourage all schools to invite their Senator and Representative to your campuses: tell them about your program offerings, the student profile for those enrolled, and your outcomes.


Rasmussen College & Knowledge Universe Celebrate 1,000th CDA Graduate

Submitted by: Rasmussen College

One thousand Knowledge Universe employees have earned a child development associate credential, thanks to a partnership with Rasmussen College that began in 2012.

Coleen Jarrett-Walker was lucky number 1,000.

When Jarrett-Walker, 36, traveled with her two children from Jamaica to America in December 1999, she wasn’t sure going back to school was the right decision. She was worried she wouldn’t be able to accomplish her goal or that classes would be too difficult.

But she started working for Knowledge Universe (KU) in 2012 as a lead teacher in the Discovery Preschool classroom, and the company helped Jarrett-Walker obtain the confidence she needed to pursue her dream of returning to school.  She graduated from Rasmussen College this year with a child development associate (CDA) certification and is looking toward pursuing her early childhood education associate degree.

“I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and that there is a time and place for everything,” Jarrett-Walker said.

Knowledge Universe has more than 30,000 employees who impact more than 300,000 students every day. The teachers and staff work at early childhood institutions like KinderCare, CCLC or Champions.

Rasmussen College’s fully online KU CDA preparation program allows KU employees to earn 12 college credits in three core courses (foundation of child development, curriculum instruction and health, safety and nutrition) that prepares students for the CDA credential. These individuals must know and understand their program, have a specific amount of educational hours in a licensed center and be validated by a professional from the CDA Council to earn their credential.

“Knowledge Universe truly supports education, not only by preparing its employees for the CDA credential, but allowing them to gain college credit as well,” said Mary Muhs, Rasmussen College Dean of Education.

Employees who earn a CDA credential often decide to pursue an early childhood education associate degree next. Those who already have an associate degree might decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in leadership.

“The partnership between the two entities really helps KU employees who are nervous about attending school or that don’t want to jump into school,” Muhs said. “We can dispel that by taking it one step at a time, and this allows the students that really need that time to take that time.”

“I’m extremely happy with the support I got from Knowledge Universe, and how much the classes at Rasmussen College prepared me for my CDA,” Jarrett-Walker said.




The Art Institutes International Minnesota
Hosts Pixar Character Artist Chris Sasaki

Submitted by: The Art Institutes International Minnesota

Chris Sasaki, Character Artist, gave a presentation on his contributions to the new Pixar/Disney film Inside Out to 200+ students, faculty, staff, alumni and Professional Advisory Committee members on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.  The Art Institutes International Minnesota was Chris' first promotional stop for this film!  Chris gave a great presentation, talked about the development of the film and offered advice regarding creative work.  In addition, he was able to show seven minutes of the film, which doesn't land in theaters for almost two months! 


National American University Graduate
Excited for her Future

Submitted by: National American University

Doreen Nnaemeka is a May 2014 National American University Roseville graduate in the B.S. Healthcare Management degree. She is now the program manager at Opal Services. When asked why she should earn her degree she said, “Earning more money is one of the reasons. More job opportunities and more-greater room for a better benefit. To have a better status in the society. [Also,] to be a model to my children to follow.”

In discussing the benefits of obtaining a degree Nnaemeka said, “Earning a degree helped me to communicate better with people. Earned me opportunity to have more stable job. [It also made it] worth it in life. I am earning better money now. I am making a better plan for my son’s college future. My family life has changed financially.”

In regards to challenges while going to school, Nnaemeka has had a few. A working mother and wife also going to school, she spent many late nights working on her assignments. “But I always have my goal at heart.” She also traveled from one library to another just to meet her assignment criteria. “I have no time to party or visit friends but I know that one day I will finish school and the time will be mine.” “It is hard but it’s worth doing,” says Nnaemeka. 


A Path to Success: Sanford-Brown College, Brooklyn Center Alumni Overcomes and Wins

Submitted by: Sanford-Brown College

Before attending Sanford-Brown College in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Anita McAbee had a stressful job and was studying a major in which she felt she wouldn't be successful. After some thought, she decided to switch gears and pursue a career in healthcare to help those in her community. Now a certified medical assistant and lab technician, Anita says her life is right where she wants it to be.

“I went into healthcare mainly because I saw the people in my community needed fewer officers patrolling the streets and more healthcare professionals who they could relate to and want to get help from,” she said. “The look that I get from my community when they come into the clinic was worth all the hours of studying and hard work.”

Growing up in a single parent home in South Minneapolis, Anita was an athlete who got good grades and worked while in high school. Playing sports helped Anita stay active and out of trouble. After completing high school, she enrolled at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona in August 2007 to study pharmacy technology. “I always loved science and thought that would’ve been a career I could’ve done for the rest of my life,” she said.

When her mother was diagnosed with cancer the following year, Anita left St. Mary’s. She later enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), which was more affordable than a private college. “MCTC was near home and I could still go to school and care for my mother,” she said.

AT MCTC, Anita chose to study criminal justice because she figured she could still help others. But something was still nagging in the back of her mind about her decision.
She ended up leaving the college in May 2012 to refocus. “I was stressed and felt like I wasn't living up to my full potential.”

Then Anita heard about Sanford-Brown College (formerly Brown College) and took a tour. She was impressed. “When I had my tour of the school, I saw a community of educators that loved what they did,” she said. “The staff was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about their job. I loved how flexible the classes were and the instructors made it a job-ready environment.”

She took the next step and enrolled at the Brooklyn Center campus in April 2014 and hit the ground running. Life was hectic and stressful, but Anita says she could tell each day that her life was improving for the better with all the skills and knowledge she was gaining from her courses.

Then something awful happened: Anita became homeless.

At the job she’d been working at while attending Sanford-Brown, Anita observed some situations she didn’t approve of. So she quit. And with no job, she couldn’t afford her apartment. Her mother was no longer in Minnesota and she didn’t want to burden her other family. So for two months, she stayed with friends, going couch to couch while determining her next move.

“By the time I found another job, I had already given up my apartment,” she said. “But school was my main focus. I told myself if I finished school I wouldn't have to worry about being homeless or looking for jobs, because jobs would be looking for me. I could’ve made an excuse and stopped going, but it encouraged me even more to go to school so that I never had to experience homelessness again.”

Against the odds, Anita pressed forward and focused.
With the credits she’d earned in her previous studies, she graduated with honors and with an associate degree from the medical assistant program six months after enrolling at Sanford-Brown. She received her certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants a few days before graduation. “I was so nervous going into the room to take my (certification) exam,” she said.

Shortly after graduating in October 2014, Anita landed a job with Multicare Associates within Blaine Medical Center as a laboratory technician. There she draws blood, processes the samples, and reports critical lab results to the provider.

Being a lab tech was great, but Anita still longed to work as a medical assistant.

In February 2015, Anita became just that. She began a position as a certified medical assistant (CMA) for Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Golden Valley Clinic in Golden Valley, Minn. At HCMC, she’s responsible for doing vitals, injections, and completing requisition forms for the provider. She also works on the schedule for the next day and calls patients to inform them of their upcoming medical appointments.

In addition to simply having extra money on hand to help her family if they ever need it, Anita says she enjoys having two jobs for the variety of tasks she gets to do every day. “I have two jobs because I like what I do at each of the different clinics. It gives me a variety to be a lab technician as well as a CMA.”

These days Anita is living the life she always wanted for herself. And her family is both proud and inspired by her journey. “They are completely supportive and encourage me. My younger sister even told me that I inspired her to go back to school.”

Anita wants to continue to make them proud by continuing her education and continuing to reach for higher goals. She loves to travel and experience other cultures and also enjoys spending time with her friends and family near her home in Edina, Minn.

“My life is right where I want it to be and I have two very good jobs that I absolutely love. I feel like I’m on an elevator of success that continues to go up and I don’t want to get off. I can finally have a career that I am proud of. I feel unstoppable.”

“Because of Sanford-Brown College I’m more successful than I could’ve asked for.”



Globe University Medical Assistant Grad Discusses Her Job at University of Minnesota

Submitted by: Globe University

Globe University-Woodbury medical assistant graduate Stephanie McCutcheon has been employed at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic at the University of Minnesota Physicians for the past two years as a certified medical assistant (CMA).
Stephanie was chosen as the Star Alumni of the 2015 Winter Quarter due to her passion and success within the medical assisting industry. She explains that she decided to attend Globe for medical assisting because of the hands-on training and the one-on-one interaction with the instructors.

“I really enjoyed being able to get out in the community to get more experience as well,” said Stephanie. “As a student, I liked that you never felt like you were just another degree. The teachers actually cared about you and wanted to help in every way they could.”

She continued by adding that she lost her cousin shortly before she graduated and it was hard to stay focused, but the instructors are pushed her to succeed and stay focused in order to graduate.

Stephanie graduated with her medical assistant degree in 2013, and she plans to further her education and someday go to nursing school.

According to Stephanie’s manager, the recommendation from her externship site supervisor at Mill City at the University of Minnesota was one of the main reasons Stephanie landed this position at Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic at the University of Minnesota Physicians.

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