INA, Ill. (Oct. 4, 2013) – Big changes lie ahead for students looking into healthcare at Rend Lake College as updated curricula, student support services and new programs will be taking shape over the next five years with the help of federal grant money.
The Title III Pathways to Success in Health Careers Grants were announced last week by the U. S. Department of Education (USDE), which added that a total of approximately $20.1 million in grants to 39 colleges and universities across the nation will be awarded under the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP).
RLC will receive the first grant payment this fiscal year in the amount of $449,960 to begin making big changes in the Allied Health Division. Kim Robert, Dean of Allied Health and Project Director, said the grant money will help increase educational prospects for RLC students.
Annually, per approval by the USDE, RLC will receive approximately $449,000 annually, for a total of $2,249,833 over five years. By the end of the grant period, RLC expects to see an increase in the number of Health Studies degrees and certificates awarded, as well as an increase in overall enrollment and enrollment-based revenue.
“The Allied Health Division is extremely excited to be awarded such a grant from the U. S. Department of Education, and we look forward to utilizing it to help our students in a number of ways,” said Robert. “We are looking into starting some new programs, purchasing equipment and starting an Allied Health Student Success Center to help our students be successful in their field of choice. Personally, I’m looking forward to working with the Rend Lake College staff to prepare our students for life after graduation in a number of healthcare occupations.”
Other plans include the establishment of a new Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) lab and revision of A&P I and II curricula, revisions to the Practical Nursing program curricula to incorporate educational simulation and web-based interactive instructional modules, development a new Health Studies advising and tutoring systems, and the establishment of a new Health Studies Success Center.
“Rend Lake College is one of only 39 schools across the nation to receive a part of the $20.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and the only one in Illinois,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson. “The grant will help us improve on our health studies programs, including the addition of two programs, and the support our staff can give to our students. On behalf of the college, faculty and staff, I want to thank the Department of Education for believing in Rend Lake College and our students by helping us expand our educational options and become one of the best higher education institutions in healthcare.”
Information from the USDE states that the healthcare and social assistance sector will create 149,000 new jobs in Illinois alone by 2018, effectively ranking Illinois as one of the top five states in the nation with the greatest shortage of healthcare professionals. More than a third of RLC students, or 35 percent, identify completion of health studies as an educational goal, and enrollment in these programs has increased 22 percent since the 2009-10 academic year.
U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stateddue to these job increases, both in Illinois and across the country, grants such as the Pathways to Success in Health Careers will allow students more options for careers post-graduation.
“Everyone deserves access to high-quality learning opportunities, from preschool to middle school and all the way through college,” said Duncan. “In order to achieve President Obama’s goal to lead the world in college graduates by 2020, we must work to ensure that everyone has a chance to enroll and complete postsecondary education. These grants will boost the capacity and quality of programs offered by higher education institutions that serve low-income students as they work to increase completion rates and better prepare their students for success in college, careers and lifetime aspirations.”
SIP helps postsecondary schools expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, as well as build a framework to help students complete college.
For more information, contact Kim Robert at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1251.