Brookdale Community College is proud to announce that it has been awarded a second-year grant by the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges for its groundbreaking Pathways to Careers in Nursing Program. In collaboration with partners Monmouth County Vocational School District and Home Helpers of Monmouth County, this initiative seeks to address the growing needs of the healthcare sector through a comprehensive pilot program.

The Pathways to Careers in Nursing Project is designed to train students through a unique program that connects non-credit industry credentials, a Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) program, and a Registered Nurses (RN) program with employer partners. The program also includes academic support services to enhance student outcomes and better prepare them for the workforce.

“Healthcare is one of the largest industry sectors in the United States and New Jersey,” said Susan Pagano, Ed.D. executive director of Brookdale’s Continuing and Professional Studies. “This program intends to meet the growing needs of this industry.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is expected to result in about 2 million new jobs over the decade. In addition to new jobs from growth, opportunities arise from the need to replace workers who leave their occupations permanently. About 1.9 million openings each year, on average, are projected to come from growth and replacement needs. In Monmouth County, five of the ten largest employers are from the healthcare sector.

This program focuses on meeting the growing demands of the healthcare sector by offering industry-recognized credential programs, including Patient Care Technician (PCT), Certified Homemaker/Home Health Aide (CHHA), Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), and RN Refresher. The primary goal is to quarterly train 10 students in these specialized programs.

The New Jersey State Board of Nursing approves Brookdale’s CHHA program and prepares students to work for a home care agency or assisted living facility. Students will be prepared to qualify for certification after successfully completing the program.

The PCT program offers a comprehensive, multi-skilled approach, preparing students for success in diverse healthcare settings such as hospitals. Completion of the program equips students for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification test.

The N.J. Department of Health approves the CNA program to train students in nursing homes, long-term care, or assisted living facilities. Upon successful completion of course content and skills testing, students will be prepared to sit for certification.

Completion of any of these industry-credential, non-credit programs serve as a pathway to enter the field of nursing. Furthermore, upon graduation from the Brookdale Community College Nursing Program, individuals obtain an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Nursing, qualifying them to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN) and attain the RN designation.

In addition to the programs, Brookdale will offer a Math for Medication course to provide academic support, covering nursing math basics, dosage calculations, IV calculations, and weight-based safe dosage math. Additionally, Brookdale will develop and deliver student success bootcamps for Nursing students, aiming to assess the effectiveness of this targeted and integrated approach in meeting the healthcare industry’s needs.

Brookdale and the Monmouth County Vocational School District (MCVSD) will work together to develop pathways from the industry credentials to the LPN and RN programs. If a student decides not to pursue Brookdale’s RN program at a given point, they can opt for the LPN program offered by MCVSD. This comprehensive course combines studies and practical experience to equip students with the skills needed to meet State requirements for licensure as a practical nurse in New Jersey and endorsed by the New Jersey State Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Department of Education, and the Council on Occupation Education.

“The graduates of our program are eligible to take the Practical Nursing Licensure Examination for the State of New Jersey,” said Dana Schaed, Ed.D. principal/director of MCVSD. “The MCVSD Practical Nursing Program has successfully graduated over 4,100 students, achieving a remarkable 100% pass rate on the Nursing Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the past five consecutive years.”

Home Helpers of Monmouth County, an employer partner, will play a crucial role in placing students who complete certification training programs. Howard Stein, president of Home Helpers Home Care of Monmouth County, emphasized the mutually beneficial collaboration, stating, “Partnering with Brookdale Community College enhances the entire healthcare industry. We are honored to place students in our comprehensive service team.”

Since 1997, Home Helpers Home Care has been a leader in providing exceptional in-home care, supporting the dignity and independence of families. The proposed pathway project represents a vital step in meeting the healthcare sector’s demands, offering diverse career pathways for students, and contributing significantly to the workforce.

For more information about this program please contact Executive Director Susan Pagano at or 732-224-2685.