Hawkeye CC and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare training partnership announced - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeye CC and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare training partnership announced

WATERLOO (NEWS RELEASE) -- The shortage of healthcare workers is a growing and well-documented concern across the United States.  Hawkeye Community College and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare are announcing plans to offer new healthcare programming and training. 

This partnership is designed to ensure the future availability of healthcare workers in several high-demand areas in our community.  Under the agreement, Hawkeye will be working with Wheaton to develop new healthcare programming as well as specific retraining opportunities for Wheaton employees. 

Over the next five years, Hawkeye and Wheaton will work together to introduce new healthcare programs to the community beginning with physical therapy assistants and occupational therapy assistants.  These therapy programs will be expanded during the next four years to include specialties areas in speech, recreation, pediatric, and geriatric resulting in an extensive therapy assistant program.  Additionally, regional programming is being planned for ultrasound technicians that will include vascular certification.  Hawkeye will work with Wheaton to indentify curriculum and to utilize their network of facilities along with other area medical institutions to complete the clinical portion of these training programs. 

In the agreement, Hawkeye will launch an Encore Institute for training and retraining of Wheaton employees through career ladders.  This will provide individuals the opportunities to advance to - or prepare for other careers within the health field through additional certification, diplomas, or degrees.  Career ladders are known to help increase employee job satisfaction as well as assist employers by reducing employee turnover rates.  One of the first career ladders to be offered is the medical lab technician.  

"Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is pleased to collaborate with Hawkeye Community College to meet the educational and clinical needs for the Cedar Valley," said Dave Olejniczak, Chief Operating Officer for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.  "We see this as a great opportunity to develop and retain top notch talent for our current and future workforce requirements.  The program will also assist us in meeting our recruitment strategy for difficult-to-fill positions.  This is not a short-term initiative, but rather a long-term commitment to continue to provide high-quality healthcare in the communities we serve." 

"Hawkeye Community College is delighted to work with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare to develop new, high demand healthcare programming.  This agreement is another example of how the College serves our mission of training individuals and helping area businesses achieve their goals and objectives," said Dr. Linda Allen, Vice President of Academic Affairs.  "Additionally, this partnership will help Hawkeye to develop new programming by utilizing our existing resources in the community.  These new offerings will further position Hawkeye as a regional training center for healthcare workers."

Healthcare is the largest industry for employment with more than 14 million jobs estimated in 2006.  The demand for highly trained healthcare workers continues to grow as the baby boomers grow older and people are living longer through the advancement of technology.   Among the fastest growing projected healthcare occupations during the next ten years includes home health workers, physical therapy assistants, pharmacy technicians, and registered nurses.   Many of these high-demand healthcare jobs require post-secondary training or a two-year college degree that can be acquired at a technical school or a community college such as Hawkeye Community College.  In fact more than half of all new nurses and the majority of other new healthcare workers are educated at community colleges.

Plans are underway for the physical therapy assistant and occupational therapy assistant program.  Students may begin to enroll as early as this fall for classes next year.  For more information on the Hawkeye Community College and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare agreement, contact Hawkeye's Academic Office at 319-296-4012.

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