NANTICOKE – Luzerne County Community College announced a new program to provide an associate’s degree in Applied Medical Science at Friday morning’s Annual Legislative Session. Developed in conjunction with Geisinger, the program will help fill those needed for certified medical assistants, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Susan Spry said.
Demand for people with such certifications is expected to “grow 25% by 2025,” Spry said.
Geisinger Associate Vice President of Neuroscience Maria Scopelliti reinforced that claim, noting Geisinger has lost 134 positions to attrition in the last year, and is constantly looking for qualified people to hire. “Certified Medical Assistants can help us move Registered Nurses to more critical positions.”
Scopelliti said for the last 18 months or so Geisinger has been conducting three programs targeting high school students grades 10-12 in hopes of exposing them to the wide options of employment in medicine, and the new certification program developed in partnership with LCCC will make getting into the field local and inexpensive for more students.
The session opened with the Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Attorney Catherine O’Donnell leading the Pledge of Allegiance and touting the school’s recent success in renewing accreditation, exceeding requirements in all seven standards.
LCCC President Thomas Leary cited multiple successes, including raising more than $ 400,000 for the college’s foundation this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, opening three new science labs in satellite locations, expanding the Early College program into 44 school districts across the region so that more than 1,000 high school juniors and seniors are taking college courses, and an agreement that gives full tuition scholarships to Amazon employees pursuing an associate degree.
Speaking via Zoom, Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges President Elizabeth Bolden touted the value of the state’s community college system and urged the state legislators to consider a request for a total of $ 43.3 million in increased spending statewide to help community colleges expand programs that target workforce development .
US Army veteran and nursing graduate Elizabeth Dorris joined pre-engineering student Brian Tylutke in praising how much LCCC helped turn their lives around with affordable starts to college degrees.
And several local state legislators spoke in support of LCCC either in person or via Zoom, including State Sen. John Yudichak (I-Swoyersville), Rep. Mike Carrol (D-Avoca), Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Lehman Township) and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Wilkes-Barre).
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish