Opinion | Brian Durham: Hospitals need more nurses; Illinois community colleges can help

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Many industries are struggling under the weight of the pandemic. A few industries, like health care, have the opposite problem.

Hospitals simply can’t hire trained and qualified health care workers fast enough to meet the demands of the ongoing health crisis. The health care workforce in Illinois is expected to continue to shrink over the next 10 years as baby boomers age and the need for health care across our state grows. Some projections indicate a nursing shortfall of nearly 20,000 by the year 2030. This shortage has only been exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news is that Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs — including nursing programs — offered by most Illinois community colleges, are here to help bridge the gap by training and educating new frontline health care heroes. In addition to nurses, community colleges also prepare people for other health care positions, including emergency medical technicians, respiratory therapists and surgical technologists, among others.

February is Career and Technical Education Month and there is no better time to highlight the benefits of CTE than right now. These programs prepare people for high-skill, in-demand jobs that further Illinois’ global competitiveness and fill critical needs here at home.

Last year, nearly half of all Illinois community college graduates earned a CTE degree or certificate. These programs offer flexible scheduling, work-based learning and a pathway from education to employment, not only for recent high school graduates, but also for returning adults, veterans, and incumbent workers.

via The Southern

February 16, 2021 at 08:38PM

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