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Local Editorials

Flexibility creates opportunity

A new partnership to allow people to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing at the Sauk Valley Community College campus demonstrates the college’s continued flexibility in providing programs that people want and need.

In an ever-changing world, it pays to be flexible.

That goes for individuals.

That also goes for institutions.

Sauk Valley Community College showed its flexibility anew last week as it announced a new partnership with Saint Anthony College of Nursing in Rockford.

The resulting program will allow nurses with associate's degrees the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degrees at the SVCC campus between Sterling and Dixon.

Area associate-degreed nurses, the medical institutions that employ them, and the patients they serve all stand to benefit.

Nurses who want to earn bachelor’s degrees won’t have to drive far to do so. More of them are likely to advance their education, which will give them better employment opportunities.

Hospitals and other health care facilities will benefit by having better-trained nurses available for employment and advancement.

Patients will benefit when the nurses who treat them have more skills and knowledge.

A demand exists for such a program, as indicated by the dozens of nurses who attended informational sessions conducted by Saint Anthony at CGH and KSB hospitals.

By showing flexibility in nursing training, Sauk Valley Community College officials have adjusted to the needs of the people they serve.

It’s not the first time SVCC has shown its ability to adapt.

Earlier this month, the college launched a computed tomography certificate program. Radiology students can take the 16-credit-hour program and become more employable in a field where more procedures are being done with CT scans, or CAT scans.

Last year, the college launched a fire science program to provide an associate’s degree and related certificates for prospective and current firefighters.

Also last year, the college opened its new $3.7 million technology and radiology wing, designed to teach welding, robotics, and computed radiology skills.

Launching new programs entails some risk. Circumstances change, and the college must retain the flexibility to curtail or cease a program when the demand falters.

Such was the case with the wind energy program, launched by the college in 2009. While the program flourished for the first couple of years, student interest lagged when the wind industry growth hit the brakes. The college discontinued the program last month, even though a survey showed most of its graduates had found jobs in the wind energy industry.

Author Richard C. Longworth, in his book “Caught in the Middle,” praised Midwestern community colleges for quickly adapting to the economic and social realities of the regions they serve. Sauk Valley Community College certainly exemplifies Longworth’s observation.

We offer our congratulations to SVCC’s administration, trustees, and faculty for their continued flexibility and service in this ever-changing world.

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