MARIETTA, OHIO (February 27, 2019)— The allied health programs at Washington State Community College (WSCC) will soon be upgrading classroom equipment thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The institution was awarded more than $150,000 for equipment upgrades in the health and sciences division.
The ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government with the mission to build community capacity while strengthening and diversifying economic growth in the Appalachian region. The grant received by WSCC is part of the funds appropriated to the commission annually by Congress.
The health sciences division accounts for approximately one-third of the WSCC population. With the support from the ARC funds, the College will purchase a ventilator, advanced microscopes, and blood bank workstations to fortify several of its programs. The two allied-health programs that will see the greatest benefit from the new equipment are Medical Laboratory Technology and Respiratory Therapy.
WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood explained that the new equipment will give students hands-on training with cutting-edge technology in the fast-evolving, highly competitive healthcare industry. She went on to describe how the tools would serve to enhance curriculum to ensure Washington State students are prepared to meet the demand of the healthcare industry long-term. She also expressed the importance of maintaining modern equipment in the classrooms to further the development of education and training opportunities.
“We are here to serve the workforce needs of our community by connecting students to training opportunities that lead to in-demand jobs. We know the healthcare field is very competitive and we are committed to providing a classroom experience with great instruction using state-of-the-art equipment,” said Wood. “These funds will enhance the equipment in our programs to give our students the best preparation for their future careers in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.”
The increased demand for skilled healthcare workers in the Mid-Ohio Valley fueled the College’s decision to apply for the ARC grant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Healthcare Support Workers are the second fastest growing sector in the industry, behind only nursing. Occupational growth projections, as reported by Ohio Means Jobs, indicate healthcare occupations will account for more than one-third of the growth expected in Ohio by 2024.
The equipment purchase will also be supported by funds awarded to WSCC through the Governor’s RAPIDS program (Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills). In total, with the equipment and the institution’s recent investment in facility upgrades, nearly $300,000 is being devoted to augment the health and sciences division.