Reporter’s notebook

Nursing students at South Puget Sound Community College in a classroom at the Angela J. Bowen Center for Health Education. The college plans to offer nursing programs on week nights and weekends. (Photo: SPSCC)

Colleges add more flexible nursing programs

Several community colleges have recently announced they will expand nursing offerings during weeknights and on weekends to meet high demand for the programs and to provide scheduling flexibility for students.

“A multitude, if not all, of our students need to work while they’re in the program,” said Marriya Wright, dean of allied health at South Puget Sound Community College. “This additional cohort allows them the flexibility to do both. For example, a student could work during the day from Monday to Wednesday, take Thursday off, attend online classes in the evenings, then participate in in-person classes and clinicals from Friday through Sunday when they are more likely to have family support for childcare.”

In addition to extending when the programs are offered, the Washington college will add 20 additional spots.

Across the country in Maryland, Hagerstown Community College and Meritus Medical Center have partnered to provide a nursing degree program that will be offered evenings and weekends. It will start with 24 students beginning in January 2025.

“There are so many tremendously passionate community members that have the potential to become incredible nurses,” said Melissa Short, chief nursing officer at Meritus Health, who noted the hospital like others across the country needs well-qualified nurses. “A program like this not only supports prospective students by putting their goals within reach, but helps the needs of our community by developing well-prepared nurses to enter our local workforce.”

Funding for advanced packaging of chips

The Biden administration on Monday announced new funding to help with advanced packaging, a key technology for manufacturing semiconductors.

U.S. Commerce Department officials said about $3 billion will be available for the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program. An initial funding opportunity for the program is expected to be announced in early 2024 as part of the department’s CHIPS for America program.

Advanced packaging focuses on the design and manufacturing to package chips to be more efficient and effective. Although it is centered on research and development, there is also a manufacturing component that will include partnerships among industry, government, and academia and training entities to produce an advanced packaging workforce, Commerce said.

The department will hold a webinar on November 27 about the program. Be sure to register.

Virginia approves new teachers academy

Germanna Community College’s Future Educators Academy is among a handful of new lab schools approved in Virginia.

The state’s Board of Education last week approved the lab, which will be a collaboration among GCC, another two-year college and a four-year state university focused on an acceleration track for the next generation of high-quality teachers in the region.

“This lab school reinvigorates the current teacher cadre with innovative opportunities through observations and hands-on practicums and streamlines the pathway to teacher licensure by prioritizing an associate degree in high school and allowing students to complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as two years after high school graduation,” according to a release from the office of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has made lab schools a priority and secured $100 million in state funding for the initiative.

New auto tech apprenticeship program in Michigan

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) has received approval for its first U.S. Department of Labor registered apprenticeship program to serve as an intermediary in partnership with Toyota & Subaru of Ann Arbor.

The partnership is the first of its kind in the region, with Toyota & Subaru offering a two-year automotive service technician apprenticeship program to successful candidates, according to the Michigan college.

“This is a significant achievement as it enables us to directly support companies, certify new apprenticeship programs and help them manage, track and document each apprentice’s progress as they work toward completion,” said Kyrsten Rue, manager of experiential learning and employer relations in WCC’s Center for Career Success and Office of Apprenticeship.

Info on securing patents

Houston Community College (HCC) will host a free course to help historically underrepresented inventors better understand how to apply for patents.

The Inventor’s Patent Academy will be led by a patent attorney, who will cover areas that underrepresented individuals commonly face when applying for patents.

“We are seeking to level the playing field to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to protect his or her intellectual property and be compensated for ideas,” said attorney Carlyn Burton.

Participants will hear from legal and industry experts, as well as inventors from historically underrepresented groups.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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