Published, New Jersey Free Press, October, 2020
For the past six months, healthcare workers have readily answered the call of their professions with compassion and grit, caring for the sick and committed to keeping us healthy as they battle the Coronavirus pandemic. A great number of these once unsung heroes are graduates of community colleges.
As the president of Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), I am proud that so many of our students decide to pursue careers in the medical field. Our graduates find employment in hospitals, physicians’ offices, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities and in other healthcare services, fulfilling a growing need within our region. With more than half of New Jersey’s current nursing workforce nearing retirement, community colleges play an important role in preparing knowledgeable and proven graduates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that New Jersey will have the third worst nursing shortage nationwide by 2030, a decline of more than 11,000 employees — and RCSJ, like other community colleges, will be there to help fill the gap.
On a positive note, this shortage presents our residents with the potential for job growth and financial opportunity. Salaries guarantee a comfortable living wage, making the healthcare field a strategic career choice. RCSJ’s close partnership with Rowan University — a research university with two medical schools — offers seamless transfer of credits toward advanced degrees. Likewise, strong relationships with clinical partners, like Inspira, Jefferson, Cooper and Virtua, provide hands-on experience and confidence in the workplace. Construction on our Cumberland and Gloucester campuses will expand South Jersey’s first Eds & Meds corridor, housing a Behavioral Health Center and the Rowan Medicine Center, dedicated to family medicine, pediatrics, osteopathic medicine and more.
Community college graduates have a track record of success, and I hope that other aspiring students will take advantage of opportunities available close to home. RCSJ offers programs in nursing, diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound), nuclear medicine technology, exercise science, health science, alcohol and drug counseling, health care administration, LPN-RN, physical therapist assistant, medical technology, psychology, certified clinical medical assistant, medical coding, and healthcare risk management. Our RN and LPN programs are rated #1 in New Jersey, recently earning merit in the Northeast Region.
If you are thinking about a career in healthcare, consider community college. RCSJ is here for you.