RCCC lands $2 million grant

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY ó Federal funding to the tune of $2 million means more allied health training is on the way at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Paired with the $12 million bond referendum approved by Rowan County voters, the grant from the Economic Development Administration will allow the school to expand its current allied health building by at least 27,000 square feet.
ěThis additional space will allow us to work toward expanding some of our current health care programs and developing additional programs ó ultimately allowing us to better meet local job demand,î said Dr. Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.
Spalding said college officials will meet throughout the next six months to decide which programs will be added. Programs for occupational therapy, assistant, physical therapist assistant and dental hygiene are under consideration.
The estimated cost of the project is about $7 million, with $2 million coming from the U.S. Department of Commerce grant and about $5 million from the bond funds.
ěThis additional space will ultimately allow us to better meet local job demand and provide the community with an array of 21st century career options,î said Carl Short, chairman of the schoolís board of trustees.
Rowan Regional Medical Center President Dari Caldwell, who serves as a member of the board, provided a letter of support for the grant.
ěWe are very dependent upon a successful program here at the college for our manpower needs,î she said.
Caldwell said those needs will continue to grow with the aging population and the implementation of health care reform.
ěWe believe that we are going to have many people seeking health care because of suddenly having access to insurance and we want to be well prepared for that so that we donít overrun the system,î she said. ěWe are trying to be proactive in addressing what we think our manpower needs are going to be moving forward in all aspects of health care.î
One example Caldwell gave of Rowan Regionalís need for staff is when new facilities such as the geriatric psychiatry unit opens at the end of the year.
ěWe will need nurses, nursing assistants, social workers and just about everything that you could imagine to support an additional unit,î Caldwell said. ěAs we grow we are going to have needs across the board.î
Rowan Regional estimates the project will add about 50 new jobs to the local health care work force and save 60 jobs through retraining of current employees.
State Rep. Larry Kissell, D-Cabarrus, said the grant is great news for Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
ěThis funding will bring good jobs, both in construction and additional operation of the facility, as well as help stimulate our local economy through private investment and expansion of this beautiful campus,î he said. ěThis smart investment will improve the training of health care workers and help us meet the growing demand for care for everyone, from our children to our seniors.î
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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