With the number of local employment opportunities in the health care industry on the rise, Fulton-Montgomery Community College has taken steps to educate students interested in entering the medical field.
In Amsterdam, the proposed Concordia Senior Community Center on Sandy Drive is expected to create roughly 100 full-time jobs when its doors open sometime next year. And Hometown Health Center’s recently opened, 5,000-square-foot, primary care medical facility on Division Street is currently staffed with one nurse practitioner and six bilingual support staff, but company officials expect the downtown office to swell to around five multicultural providers and 15 support staff within a few years, providing regional residents with employment opportunities.
These two facilities will look to complement St. Mary’s Healthcare, which runs hospital, primary and specialty care centers throughout Fulton and Montgomery counties.
FMCC President Dustin Swanger said the college has added two new programs in the past several years.
“We added health sciences and health studies,” Swanger said. “Health studies is a broader health curriculum for folks who are interested in doing lab work that is preparing them for a broader spectrum of immediate employment in health care. Health sciences is actually a program a number of students start in before they enter the nursing program, or it can prepare them for a number of professional fields if they transfer to another institution.”
Swanger said local health care facilities have reported they are pleased with the readiness and savvy FMCC students bring to the workplace. Swanger added some facilities are desperate for more certified nursing assistants and home health aides.
“We are looking at how we can address that need on a more short-term basis for people to fill these positions,” he said. “We are always open to offering new programs that are needed and sustainable.”
Dean of Academic Affairs Diana Putnam said the college offers classes where students can gain certificates necessary for entry-level medical positions.
“A lot of companies want their employees to have a foundation and have some of these health studies courses under their belt in anatomy and physiology,” she said.
Through internships and exposure to that coursework, Putnam said, students would be able to enter the workforce in entry-level positions.
“Probably just a week and a half ago, we had some people who are in the medical field come in and review our curriculum,” she said, adding that the college is perfectly situated for the health care boom occurring in the region.
Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said Tuesday a well-educated, well-trained workforce is one of the most important pieces of a strong local economy.
“The county will absolutely partner with the private sector and educational centers to provide opportunities and meaningful workforce development initiatives that can help meet those needs,” Ossenfort said.