Great long, relaxing weekend. Right now watching the Trojan-Bruin game and working on this blog about the amazing Cindy Collier.
Bakersfield College made its presence felt at the recent California Assembly Select Committee on Workforce and Vocational Development, an event facilitated by 32nd district Assemblyman Rudy Salas in Bakersfield. The hearing featured information about health care needs, issues and trends as presented by local and regional experts, including Bakersfield College Dean of Allied Health and Nursing Cindy Collier.
Dean Collier shared that California’s healthcare workforce needs are projected to increase dramatically due to both the population growth as well as the population aging. The increase in people accessing healthcare due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will only intensify this need, Collier reported. The issue is compounded because funding for health science education at community colleges and universities—the primary sources for training Allied Health professionals—is inadequate. As a result community colleges like Bakersfield College have limited capacity for training, even though the need in Bakersfield and Kern County for healthcare workers is growing. A lack of qualified faculty to increase offerings in local programs exacerbates the problem.
Dean Collier urged Assemblyman Salas to 1) support more equitable state investment in education programs, 2) consider allowing community colleges to develop classes or programs in which fees paid by a group of students cover the entire cost of the class; 3) provide planning and implementation grants to institutions of higher education focusing on education, training and retention; 4) open more avenues for loan repayment and scholarships; and 5) encourage more public-private partnerships with Allied Health programs.
Assemblyman Salas acknowledged Bakersfield College’s critical role in training local healthcare professionals and pledged to continue to consult our knowledgeable faculty and administrators as he crafts legislation to improve the flow of healthcare services to the residents of our communities. Congratulations Dean Collier for representing Bakersfield College and for being a voice speaking on behalf of our students! And thank you Assemblyman Salas for spotlighting this important issue.