By: Kafi Rosenbaum
Morris County state and local officials met at the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center at the County College of Morris (CCM) on Friday, October 20, to announce the construction of a new 70,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that will function as the college's Center for Health Professions.
The theme for the event, "Healthy Communities Start Here," highlighted CCM's focus on expanding its healthcare programs to include dental hygiene, dental assisting, surgical technology, diagnostic medical sonography, and medical assistance.
In addition to launching these new programs, the center is expected to grow existing programs in nursing, radiography, respiratory therapy, paramedic science, and drug counseling.
According to officials, classrooms and labs within the Center for Health Professions will be designed with a fully integrated learning environment resembling today's leading medical centers.
CCM President Dr. Anthony J. Iacono said, "We are proud to take this important step towards furthering educational excellence and partnerships with the community. The new cutting-edge healthcare facility will serve as a hub for innovation, where students can gain a world-class education that empowers them to excel in their chosen medical careers."
Dr. Iacono also thanked the leadership of Senator Joseph Pennacchio, Senator Anthony M. Bucco, Senator Paul A. Sarlo, Senator Steven V. Oroho, and Governor Phil Murphy, in addition to the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, and numerous members from the medical and dental industries in attendance at the event who helped make this project possible in conjunction with New Jersey's Legislature.
Commissioner Director John Krickus stated, "The students who come to CCM have a range of options on what they can do. There are more than 100 universities that CCM has transfer agreements with, which means students can attend CCM for two years at the low county college rates, and all their credits will transfer to those universities…"
Krickus continued by saying, "... students can get a job after CCM, they can go on to 4-year universities – the whole program is there. This provides not just a good income but a good career for these students. There may be problems in society, but a good career can solve a lot of those problems."
Senator Pennacchio added, "There is a lot of conflict now as to whether or not a college degree is even worth it. Some kids are spending a quarter of a million dollars for four-year degrees, whereas they can go all in $12,000 to become a dental hygienist and come out making $100,000 a year. They will have no shortage of opportunities. There is a need state-wide for these types of programs, and I hope this becomes an incubator."
Officials say the Center for Health Professions will support CCM's ongoing efforts to fulfill the nationwide shortage of healthcare workers.
So far this year, Morristown Medical Center (MMC) has hired 45 nurses who were graduates of CCM.
According to Joseph D'Auria, Chief Operating Officer of MMC, Atlantic Health Systems (AHS) has an extensive summer internship program and hired students from 61 universities across the country this year. CCM ranked among the top ten in terms of number of students hired.
"The feedback from managers mentoring the interns is unbelievable across the board," said D'Auria, who shared that MMC also hires CCM graduates from the respiratory therapy, radiology, paramedic science, health and exercise science, and public health programs.
According to Dr. Renee Arace, President of the New Jersey Dental Association, the dental workforce shortage in America has also reached epidemic proportions.
With this new building, CCM will be able to increase its capacity and allow the college to meet the growing demand for employees in the medical field while giving students the opportunity to obtain fulfilling careers that impact their lives and the community.
"The beauty of this program is being able to provide access to an area of education that many students may not have and where there is a demand for these jobs," said Senator Bucco.
A video of the press conference can be viewed on CCM's YouTube channel.
Following the press conference, Commissioner Director John Krickus, Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers, and Commissioner Deborah Smith met with administrators from CCM and Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD) to discuss the Morristown and Dover College Promise programs.
For more information about the Center for Health Professions or programs at CCM, contact Melissa Albright, Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations & Enrollment Management at CCM, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (973) 328-5171.