NTC Helping Women Become Medical Coding Professionals With Grant
There’s barely anyone roaming the halls at Northwest Technical College in Bemidji because the summer session classes ended. But the grant committee is meeting to determine how to disburse a $29,500 grant from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.
“‘They’ve been very generous with us over the last three years,” said Northwest Technical College Medical Coding Instructor Sue Sutton. “Our first award was for $100,000 and at that time we admitted 28 students to the grant, then the next year the grant was for $25,000 and we admitted nine students.”
Received in May, the grant helps women participate in the Coding the Path From Poverty To Hope Program, which helps students pursue a free education in medical coding. Medical coding classifies procedures and diagnoses related to medical treatment. Women must be living below the poverty line, a caretaker of a child or elder or a woman of color to qualify.
“It’s a 26 credit program that they can complete in one year,” said Sutton. “We help map that out for the students as far as what classes they should take, so that they can complete it within a timely manner.”
There was lots of interest for the program before the July 1 deadline. Thirty applicants came from the northern Minnesota area and 10 from out of state.
“We hope for the students that don’t receive the award that they’re still interested to pursue the medical coding field,” said Sutton.
The unique online program tries to eliminate any barriers for students and provides them with a laptop, Internet access, child and elder care and a gas stipend. You can think of it as education on a platter.
“We try to think of everything we could to make that as easy for the students as possible,” said Sutton.
One thing that separates this program from others is the mentorship component.
“It’s that one-on-one connecting with the students that makes it so important,” said Sutton.
This year about 12 students will benefit from the grant and those names will be announced next week.