A $33 million appropriation in the final state budget has community college folks smiling.
The money will allow colleges to replace old equipment and upgrade to new technology as well. This is important because the state's community colleges have been flooded with new students in the last year - enrollment has spiked 15 percent - and many are taking classes that require this new technology.
So I asked college officials for some specifics. Here's what Megen Hoenk with the community college system's office told me.
"A great example is the Catawba Valley Community College's Simulated Hospital. CVCC restructured low-demand educational areas to offset the high cost of healthcare programs and built the largest simulated hospital on the East Coast. However, it will cost $1.2 million to fully equip the facility which is more than 1.5 times CVCC’s annual equipment allotment. CVCC has more than 1,000 students waiting to get into healthcare programs with other area community colleges experiencing similar demand. This simulated hospital could help alleviate the “clinical crunch” that has restricted much of the potential growth in healthcare education for CVCC and other regional community colleges."
"College of The Albemarle needs to convert its aging machine shop into an advanced manufacturing technology lab to prepare students for high-tech, high-skilled jobs in growing industries such as aerospace and aviation."
"Guilford Technical Community College has a total of 11 health programs with ongoing equipment needs as they strive to continue to provide healthcare workers for its area. These equipment needs are essential to stay current with industry standards and to students’ preparation. One new health program on the horizon for GTCC is Radiologic Technologies.
Eventually the program would be moved to a location that can accommodate an energized lab. This lab could cost in excess of $250,000 and would provide students with an opportunity to actually expose radiographs on mannequins in a learning environment where they can get hands on practice in a low risk environment. radiologic technicians are listed as one of the high demand health
careers for the future. The region surrounding GTCC is a heavy health
industry area of the state."