For those of you interested:

A partnership between Pratt Community College and the Urban League of Kansas has led to 24 students and 428 credit hours for a new mostly on-line nursing program.

An update on the program was presented to the PCC Board of Trustees at their monthly meeting Monday.

Students do the theory on-line and the clinicals will be done at a variety of long-term care or assisted living facilities.

The program, Health Occupations Technology, is aimed at lower income students that fall below the poverty line, said PCC William Wojciechowski.

The Urban League is recruiting students below the poverty level that are seeking jobs in the health care area.

“This is the first of a series of classes to provide training and job placement,” Wojciechowski said. “We expect to have the second part of the course running the first week in June.”

This is a pilot program and if it is successful it could be expanded into other Urban League locations.

The program started April 15. Students work towards a certificate as a prerequisite to enter a nursing program without losing credits. Students that qualify receive Pell Grants to pay for the program. The Urban League provides the facilities and hardware while PCC provides the instruction and student support services, Wojciechowski said.

The government wants to reduce Pell Grants and students are going to have to come up with more money on their own, said Emma Foltz, staff senate chairperson, in a special report on the employee/administration planning session.

A reduction could affect the new nursing program so the administration will keep a close eye on the Pell Grant situation.

The Urban League does the recruiting and screening to identify students with the most potential for success.

The response has been excellent. The program has some highly motivated students including one that walked an hour to get to a bus to get to class at night but had to walk 12 miles home after the class was over because the bus service stopped at 9 p.m.

The Urban League has gotten that student assistance with transportation to class.

This program is just another example of the growth in the nursing program at PCC that has been made possible through the support of the Board of Trustees support from the community members like the late George Chandler and the late Clarence Beck, Wojciechowski said.

With the leadership of Dean of Nursing Gail Withers and the continuing demand for nurses, the PCC nursing program is expected to continue growing.

That demand is so great and the PCC nursing program has gained such a strong reputation that the college is currently processing approximately 1,148 applications for just 100 positions in the nursing program.

The PCC Trustees passed a $25 application fee to the program to help cover the costs of processing the applications and to help assure the applicant is serious about joining the program, Wojciechowski said.

Besides the additional students in the new nursing program, the college is experiencing sustained growth and is currently running six percent higher enrollment than the same time last year and that number is expected to hold.

The increase in enrollment has added to the college income and even though PCC has sustained a 17 percent reduction in state funding over the last two years, the college has maintained their operating level without taking substantial cuts in operations.

The employee/administration planning session revealed that the college library is very much like it was over 40 years ago when the building was opened and the time has come to consider remodeling the library to a more efficient facility for student needs.

“It needs to be updated,” said Monet Depew, English instructor and planning session member.

Library upgrades and other college financial needs are going to require some creative funding, said Trustees President Ed Barrett.

“The money is there somewhere. We just have to go find it,” Barrett said.

Wojciechowski said the college would have to look beyond its boarders to find funding because the community is already asked to fund other entities including the two school districts.