Reporter’s notebook

  • House education committee member dies of Covid
  • Mattis speaks with student veterans
  • EMS students assemble first-aid kits
  • Smithfield Foods expands apprenticeships into Missouri
  • Health lab in a home setting

House education committee member dies of Covid

Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, died on Sunday after contracting covid. He is the first sitting member of Congress to die from the illness.

Rep. Ron Wright

In a statement, Wright’s office said the 67-year-old lawmaker, who had been battling cancer, will be “remembered as a constitutional conservative.”

Wright was re-elected to a second term in November. He passed away about two weeks after he tested positive for coronavirus on January 21.

“While his tenure in the House was brief, his service will be missed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said of Wright. “As we grieve Congressman Wright’s passing, members of Congress are united in sorrow and pray for the families and loved ones of the over 460,000 Americans who have been killed by the vicious coronavirus.”

Mattis speaks with student veterans

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis recently chatted via Zoom with student veterans at Las Positas College in California.

Gen. James Mattis

Todd Steffan, veterans first supervisor at the college, said Las Positas has for many years asked Mattis to speak at the college since he was working at Stanford University, which is about 40 miles away.

“Each time we asked, General Mattis would quickly respond, ‘I would love to come speak, but my schedule is really packed,'” Staffan said. “Early this year, I sent him an email and he responded with his number to call. When I got off the phone with General Mattis, I was speechless. I kept thinking I just talked to a world leader and no one will believe me. He has said yes and he could do a virtual meeting with our amazing student veterans.”

Mattis chatted with more than 30 student veterans on January 27, relating his life experiences through storytelling.

“It was truly an amazing experience getting to know General Mattis and his sincere responses to our questions,” said student and Navy veteran Kenia Vazquez. “An inspiring and motivational leader with a wealth of knowledge and incredible stories.”

EMS students assemble first-aid kits

Moreno Valley College’s emergency medical services (EMS) program presented 25 first-aid kits that its students assembled to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, with another 10 set for delivery by the end of February.

The program has in the past held community projects such as free CPR, first-aid training and certification for campus police, but this is the first time it developed such kits, said EMS professor Chris Nollette. Former students brought attention to the need for the kits, he said.

“We had students from our medical aid programs who have transitioned to the Sheriff’s Academy,” he said. “They noticed that they did not have field-setting first-aid kits. So, in order to support our EMT and fire colleagues who are transitioning to becoming deputies, we thought these kits could possibly save the life of a citizen or a fellow officer.”

First-aid kits distributed by EMS students at Moreno Valley College to the local sheriff’s department. (Photo: MVC)

Smithfield Foods expands apprenticeships into Missouri

Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Kansas City has partnered with Smithfield Foods, a U.S. food company and the world’s largest pork processor, to launch a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) registered maintenance mechanic apprenticeship program.

Apprentices who complete the four-year program will earn stackable credentials that include an MCC industrial technology apprenticeship certificate, a DOL completion of registered apprenticeship certificate and journeyman’s license, and a tuition-free MCC associate in applied science degree.

“Last March, Smithfield launched apprenticeship programs in North Carolina and Nebraska, and we are thrilled to introduce the program to the Kansas City area,” said Schwanzetta Williams, vice president of talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion for Smithfield Foods.

Health lab in a home setting

The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) has launched a community health lab that provides opportunities for real-time teaching in a home healthcare setting.

The lab is designed as a studio apartment, a 12-by-22 foot space with a fully furnished kitchen, bathroom and living area designed to provide students and professionals in continuing education programs with a setting for simulated home healthcare scenarios, according to the college. The lab has five cameras that record and livestream video and audio for debriefing and evaluation purposes.

“Our health students will have the opportunity to learn in this community setting to better prepare for real-life experiences in the home,” said Suzanne Carr, CCRI’s dean of health and rehabilitative sciences. “This lab will allow students to collaborate with a multi-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation.”

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.