For some students, college selection comes down to location, location, location. But what happens if the program you want to study isn’t offered at that location?
Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) surveyed 208 students enrolled in GED and English-as-a-Second-Language classes at its Education Center at Blue Island (ECBI). Eighty-two percent had an interest in nursing and 83 percent said they were interested in a basic nurse assistant program. The problem? Those programs aren’t offered at the ECBI location. That’s changing soon, though.
The college received a five-year, $2.25 million U.S. Department of Education grant for its Increasing Access to Career Pathways initiative. Using the grant, MVCC will establish four health care programs at the ECBI: nursing, basic nurse assistant, phlebotomy and another allied health curriculum. Funding also will be used for new student success interventions.
Expanding access to these programs won’t only benefit students, though.
“There’s a shortage in nursing and allied health care across the board,” said LoShay Willis, MVCC assistant dean of career programs. “At the same time, there’s a national movement to diversify health care programs because of the nation’s growing diverse population. There is a need for underrepresented minorities to pursue health care careers to meet a growing demand in the communities we serve.”
Most of the neighborhoods surrounding the ECBI have high minority populations and there’s a demand for Hispanic health care professionals in particular. More than three-quarters of the students MVCC surveyed identified as Hispanic and 15 percent identified as African American.
To help retain students and ensure their success, counseling and advising services will be expanded. MVCC will implement an iBest model that incorporates student success strategies into the classroom, such as having an educational specialist attend class with the student cohort to assist them in understanding the course material.
The plan is to enroll students in these health care programs at the ECBI within the next five years.