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Pathway Focus of the Month: Health Sciences

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Potential Career: Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA)

Occupational Therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession that helps people build or regain skills important for health, well-being, and quality of life. People of all ages who, because of developmental, physical, social or emotional problems, need specialized therapeutic intervention to learn skills that enable them to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives. There are two types of professions within this field. The certified OTA (Occupational Therapy Assistant) works under the supervision of the Registered Occupational Therapist (ROT) to provide occupational therapy treatment, based on the use of occupations (everyday life activities) as a way of helping people achieve their goals. OTAs work in acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, wellness centers, schools, long-term care, home health care, mental health, out-patient, vocational and day habilitation settings. A typical day will depend on the work setting. Examples are:

  • creating learning environments for physically or cognitively challenged school children
  • adapting home environments for people dealing with the effects of stroke
  • analyzing job task requirements for an injured worker
  • teaching a disabled adult to become independent in self care
  • practicing daily living skills such as stress management, budgeting and meal preparation with troubled teens
Job Outlook: Several factors will contribute to the job growth for occupational therapist assistants. First, the baby boom generation is entering the age where they are most at risk for strokes. This will increase the need for occupational rehabilitation. Growth will also result from medical advances. Doctors can save more seriously injured people, and these patients usually need extensive therapy. Finally, demand for assistants may increase if hospitals hire them instead of therapists. Because assistants are paid less, hospitals find they fit more easily into their shrinking budgets. Public school systems are also a major employer of OTAs. Federal law requires that schools provide occupational therapy for students with special needs. Improved infant care and early identification is increasing the number of infants and toddlers who require occupational therapy. Overall, there is a greater demand and better pay for Registered Occupational Therapists than Occupational Therapy Assistants.

For More Information: The American Occupational Therapy Association is a great source of information about the profession, schools and career ladders. They also have portal designed for students in OT training programs, as well as a site for prospective students full of career information. There is a local state chapter, the Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy, Inc., which provides information on local training, conferences, and special interest groups.

About BCC's Programming: The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program prepares students as entry-level occupational therapy assistants for practice under the supervision of registered occupational therapists in acute care, rehabilitation, home-health, long-term care, school, habilitation, residential, out-patient and wellness settings. The program also provides a strong foundation for those who want to continue on to a four-year program to pursue a career as a Registered Occupational Therapist. BCC’s OTA Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). For more information, contact Johanna Dupont, Department Chair for Occupational Therapy at 508.678.2811, ext. 2325.

Hint for Success: You need to graduate with a minimum of a “C” grade in biology, chemistry, and Algebra I. Typically students with higher grade point averages and higher grades in science courses are more likely to be successful in the OTA program. CVTE high school students should take advantage of the option to take free courses to complete some of the program’s general education requirements prior to graduation, such as English Composition, electives in medical language, computer literacy, abnormal psychology (PSY 55), child development (PSY 52), foreign languages, and American Sign Language ASL. Students who intend to transfer into Masters level programs in OT are also advised to take Western Civilization (HST 11 or 12) and Statistics.


Headlines

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Headlines

Massachusetts Releases its Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery Commission Report. Chaired by DOE Commissioner Paul Reville, the Commission’s main directive was “to establish a goal and timeline for reducing the statewide dropout rate. The Commission – guided by Massachusetts’ characteristically aggressive approach to education reform and the Governor’s target of at least 90 percent of students graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education by 2020 – recommended that we commit to reducing the dropout rate by half over the next five years – from 3.4 percent to 1.7 percent by 2014.” The report provides the Commission’s recommendations to make this ambitious goal possible. In addition to statistics that are all too familiar, the Report also provides information on programs that are working to stem the dropout tide around the country.

Changes are now in place for the Mass Transfer. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has approved a new statewide transfer program that makes transferring among Massachusetts public colleges and university campuses much easier for students. BCC students who graduate in eligible programs with the requisite GPAs will be guaranteed admission, transfer credit, and tuition reduction at UMass campuses and most Massachusetts state colleges. Eligible programs are listed on the MassTransfer website. There is no obligation; students in eligible programs who elect to attend a Massachusetts public college or university reap the benefits, but students retain the option to attend any college or university to which they have been accepted. The new policy also grants benefits to students who transfer before graduating. See the BCC Bristol Buzz for specific requirements and benefits, or contact the BCC Transfer Office (508.678.2811, ext. 2227) for more information.

New NCPN Joint Publication Highlights Education-Business Partnerships and Career Pathways. Thriving in Challenging Times profiles 17 local and two statewide career pathways programs from across the U.S. by documenting the challenges, strategies, results, and business engagement each partnership has experienced. The publication's intent is to highlight successful education/business partnerships that create relevant, challenging learning environments. Although the partnerships differ in many details, they are all based on "career pathways," a career-focused model that, if widely implemented, has the potential to significantly increase American employers' access to high-quality, homegrown employees.

US Department of Labor Closely Tracks Actual Green Jobs. A publication by a department within US DOL (O*NET), Greening of the World of Work, summarizes the recent research to investigate the impact of green economy activities and technologies on occupational requirements in an effort to determine their impact on current occupations and to identify new and emerging occupations. This would be a great read for any guidance counselor looking to advise students on actual jobs that will be here upon college graduation or CVTE administrators looking to add or revise existing CVTE programming. Be sure to check out APPENDIX A: “O*NET-SOC OCCUPATIONS CLASSIFIED AS ‘GREEN INCREASED DEMAND’.”


Professional Development Opportunities

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Professional Opportunities

Fall Symposium Staying in STEM Pipeline, Raytheon Corporation, 225-235 Presidential Way, Woburn, Friday, November 6, 2009. Sponsored by Raytheon, Metro North REB and the Metro South/West REB, this event will provide administrators and educators in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at schools in Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area more information on STEM Education Model for STEM, updates on Massachusetts STEM Education Business Coalition, information on the Mass STEM Pipeline Paradox, the role of teacher externships, and more information on the unique opportunities for STEM educators spending a school year in a variety of federal and national STEM agencies. Registration is limited to 100 participants (on a first- come, first- served basis) and will be closed on November 4th.We encourage you to register as soon as possible! There is a $25 fee for educators. Check out the DOME Foundation Symposium website to view the agenda and to register. Contact Larisa Schelkin if you have any questions. [NOTE: Take it from one who knows; don’t let the location discourage you. It would take you approximately and hour to travel from Fall River to Woburn.]

Free Robotics Workshop, UMass Lowell, 3rd Floor, Olsen Hall, Saturday, November 7th, 2009, 10am – 1pm. Come to a free workshop to learn about building robots and how to include them in your teaching. Participants will: build and program a robot creature, interact with other teachers who have already used robots, access advanced robotics instruction, gain new knowledge of new data collection and visualization techniques, and learn of available program funding. This event is limited to educators.

For more information, or to register, visit the website, email or call Phyllis Procter (978-934-3625). Register now—registration closes by Nov. 1!

Bristol Math Accuplacer Strategic Alignment Seminar, Saturday, November 14, 2009, 8am – 4pm, BCC Fall River. Approximately 80% of community college applicants place into remedial math courses because they lack the math skills necessary to access a college curriculum. New studies show that the more remediation a student requires, the less likely they are to complete a postsecondary program. The Bristol CVTE Consortium is creating a seminar to develop alignment tools and strategies that will help close the math performance gaps between high school assessments (MCAS) and college placement assessments (Accuplacer). This event will be limited to representatives from BCC and from CVTE Consortium high schools, which may include: math faculty, testing coordinators, administrators, guidance/advisors, tutoring lab personnel, Title III personnel (BCC only), and CVTE personnel. Registration is limited to Consortium partner schools until November 4th, 2009; participants will be compensated by sending school districts. PDPs and CEUs are available.

Topics in Renewable Energy Workshop, Saturday, November 14, 2009, 8:00 am – 12:15pm, BCC, Fall River. Bristol Community College’s SMART Project is offering a half-day Teacher Professional Development Workshop that will focus on Topics in Renewable Energy (Solar, Wind, and Conservation) and how to incorporate these concepts into your classroom. See flyer for more details! Please complete the registration form and return to Meghan Abella-Bowen via email, fax, and/or mail on or before November 6, 2009. Stipends will be available for participants.

“Health Careers Pathways: 21st Century Skills in Health Care Education-How Technology and Communication Impact Student Success,” November 19th, 8am – 2pm, Shrewsbury, MA. This is a conference for Health Science Instructors, Academic Advisors & Librarians, School-to-Career Staff, and other Healthcare Workforce Development Professionals. Topics include “Bridging the Generational Divide,” “Reliable Web Resources & 2.0 Tools for Health Science Education” and “A Health Careers Expo.” More detailed descriptions of the event, as well as registration and additional information, can be found on the AHEC website. There is a $30 fee that covers PDP’s.

Career Planning for College and Career Readiness Conference, Friday, December 11, 2009, Worcester Senior Center, Worcester, MA. Sign-in begins at 7:30 a.m.; conference begins at 9 a.m. The Massachusetts DESE and the National Center for School Counseling Outcome Research at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst are pleased to announce a conference in support of career planning for college and career readiness. Participants will learn strategies for merging Chicago's "12 Touch Approach" (that engages students, parents and educators in interactions to promote intimacy and support for creating a college-going culture) with the delivery of critical assessment information for college and career readiness. Educators from high schools and public two-year colleges with local plans under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act are invited to attend. A simple, light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Go to the DESE website to register.


Student Opportunities

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Student Opportunities

State Farm Companies Foundation Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants

. State Farm is proud to team up with Youth Service America in a dynamic partnership to offer grants of up to $1,000 for the promotion of service learning around the United States and Canada. Projects are selected for their capacity to combine service with academic learning in order to cultivate well-rounded leadership among America's youth. Youth are strongly encouraged to apply but may need assistance with the application. Projects should be prepared to launch on Martin Luther King Day of Service, January 18, 2010. To begin the application process, students must complete the Eligibility Quiz. Deadline: November 9th, 2009.


Resources of the Month

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Resources of the Month

GRANT: The Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and the National Science Teachers Association Invites Entries for its 20th Annual Science Grant Competition. The Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and the National Science Teachers Association are accepting applications for its 2009-2010 Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program. The program will offer grants of up to $10,000 each to K-12 teachers for innovative science projects that enhance science education in their school and/or district over a one-year period. Fifty large grants and a minimum of 20 mini-grants will be awarded. Individual science teachers or a team of up to five teachers can submit proposals in one of three categories: physical science application; environmental science education; and integrating literacy and science. Deadline: January 18, 2010.

PUBLICATION: Most recent Job Vacancy Survey released! The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development just released the second quarter data on job vacancies within Massachusetts. This particular report has promising information for our region (strong need in healthcare), more data that supports the need for at least four years of postsecondary education/training, and highlights which jobs have stronger stability in a weakened economy.

ONLINE PUBLICATION: “Can Poor Spelling Derail a Career?” This online article from the Wall Street Journal provides compelling consequences to high school students if poor spelling and grammar persists in the workplace. Ammunition for any English teacher faced with “Why do we need to know this?” when teaching spelling and grammar in this electronic age. Worth a quick read!


Articulation Update

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Articulation Update

Regional articulations are coming! Several BCC Department Chairs have expressed interest in pursuing regional articulations based on the Chapter 74 Vocational Frameworks. Thus far, this includes the Office Administration program, Environmental Technology program, and Computer Information Systems. Schools using the Chapter 74 Frameworks in these areas (Office Technology, Environmental Science & Technology, and Information Support Services and Networking) should contact the Bristol CVTE Consortium Office if interested in taking advantage of this articulation option.