Colleges aim to bridge the gap

Both Klamath Community College (KCC) and Rogue Community College (RCC) recently noticed a real need in their communities. Klamath Falls (KCC’s location) has many available jobs but not enough qualified applicants. And in Grants Pass (RCC’s location), there are eager students but a lack of appropriate college programs.

Klamath Falls’ rural location was suffering an economic downturn and realized that their most vulnerable populations weren’t getting the training they needed—specifically in computer and technical skills such as computer-aided design (CAD)—to qualify for the available jobs in the area.

Grants Pass was having the opposite problem. Their healthcare sector was growing, but the only Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training program in the area unfortunately closed its doors due to losing its American Heart Association (AHA) status. ACLS training and certification is a requirement for several good-paying jobs such as EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), Paramedic, Nurses, Dentists and Physicians.

To help both community colleges to provide these missing skills and services, The Avista Foundation awarded each a $3,500 grant.  

KCC plans to use the funds to purchase equipment for its new Work Skills Technology Center that opened on campus this fall. The equipment will let KCC create a virtual classroom to bring in remote experts as well as let students collaborate on projects with peers on or off-site. It also will provide distance learners with classroom experiences.

The number of career tech degrees is projected to increase by 25 percent and enable graduates to step into 700 new jobs over the next decade, with salaries ranging from $39,000 - $60,000 per year.

RCC’s funds will purchase needed medical software and devices and related training supplies to offer ACLS training to students, as well as to the healthcare sector in Jackson and Josephine counties, where healthcare has grown.

The project is expected to serve over 417 participants in the first year. In RCC’s two-county district alone. there are thousands of employees at four hospitals, 15 fire depts. 299 physician offices, 181 dental offices, There also is numerous other employees in region that require ACLS certification and recertification every two years.

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