TAG – The Aspen Group, Women Employed, and Midwestern Career College Announce Partnership to Help Low-Income Chicago Women Establish Careers in Dentistry

A diverse group of women in dental scrubs smiling and working together in a dental office.

A new initiative launched by TAG – The Aspen Group, Women Employed (WE), and Midwestern Career College (MCC) aims to foster economic empowerment and job creation in the dental health industry for low-income women in the Chicago area. The partnership marks a milestone in TAG’s mission to expand access to care by supporting women who are under- and unemployed in their journey to join the dental healthcare workforce.

“This partnership highlights an essential aspect of TAG’s work to help remove barriers to entry for those interested in working in dental care,” Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Executive Director of TAG’s Oral Care Center for Excellence (OCC), stated. “The first step in achieving equitable and inclusive care is having a diverse workforce that can serve the specialized needs of our patients. With this new partnership, we can help more people join that workforce.”

As part of the partnership, women will participate in a program that prepares them to work as Dental Assistants in Chicago, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, and the surrounding communities. Women who participate in the program learn the necessary skills to enter the dental health field, enabling them to establish financial stability, support their families, and promote employment growth in the region. Low-income women are eligible to receive need-based financial assistance provided by WE that will be applied to the program’s tuition and ancillary expenses such as fees, books, uniforms, and childcare.

When asked about the partnership, MCC Dental Assisting Program Director, Dr. Clinical Psychology Trainee, and RDA Instructor, Khristina Brent, MA, said, “At Midwestern Career College, we strive to provide the best career opportunities for our students while advocating for marginalized people. Through our partnership with Women Employed and TAG’s Oral Care Center for Excellence, we feel we can better reach those seeking economic uplift through careers in oral health.

Our goal is to provide integrity, excellence, academic training, and a career-oriented approach in the field of dentistry to help women advance and achieve their career goals. These unique experiences enable new graduates to launch successful careers in the field of dentistry while including the talent of women in the workplace.” 

To advance the partners’ shared mission of increasing equity and creating jobs, TAG, WE, and MCC all offer support and resources to program participants based on need. TAG’s state-of-the-art Oral Care Center serves as a year-round dental assisting externship site for select MCC dental assisting program participants — providing on-site training for clinical work. WE provides need-based financial support to students participating in this pilot program who come from WE’s community partners’ programs, by paying for basic certification training and state exams for participants who do not qualify for workforce training funding or vouchers, to ensure that students do not graduate with debt as they pursue externships and employment opportunities. MCC’s Evergreen Park campus offers discounted tuition to Health Care Careers (HCC) participants referred by WE. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be prepared to sit for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certificate and trained to assist with standard dental procedures and perform dental medical administrative tasks.

Together, the alliance creates an important and accessible opportunity for women looking to jump-start their careers in the dental industry by helping program participants hone their technical skills and join the workforce. The program is now enrolling its next class and women interested can go to mccollege.edu/dental-assisting to apply today.


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