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St. Louis Community College Receives 2024 Bellwether Award

St. Louis Community College Receives 2024 Bellwether Award

STLCC’s healthcare education plan called “an exemplary model"

ST. LOUIS (March 11, 2024) – St. Louis Community College has received a 2024 Bellwether  Award for its multi-year strategic plan designed to assist in meeting the ongoing healthcare workforce needs in the St. Louis region.
”Show-Me Synergy: Growing the Healthcare Workforce in St. Louis,” led by STLCC’s health sciences division, received the Bellwether Award in the Workforce Development category. This category recognizes public and/or private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development. The Bellwether Awards are widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious honors for community colleges. STLCC received the award during the Community College Futures Assembly Feb. 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas.
“This award represents the collaborative efforts of many people and organizations over the past six years to address the critical shortages of healthcare professionals in the region,” said Jeff L.  Pittman, PhD., STLCC chancellor. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to work within the community to help meet this need for our clinical partners. The support from the federal, state,  and local leaders, professional organizations, hospital systems, clinics and our citizens has  been tremendous.”  

The Bellwether Awards annually recognize outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future. Winners and finalists are invited to join the prestigious Bellwether College Consortium. This is the second straight year an  STLCC program was selected as a finalist.
“It was an honor to lead a team to represent these efforts at the Community College Futures  Assembly and share our experiences with others across the nation at this event,” said William  Hubble, district division dean of academic affairs – health sciences. “It is our hope that other  communities will be able to replicate our efforts to address the workforce issues they are facing  in their communities.”  
Hubble’s STLCC team also included Jordan Cooper, district dean of nursing, and Kim Kraft,  nursing placement coordinator.  

When it became clear the area’s healthcare community needed help filling positions, the  College embarked on this ambitious plan to address the workforce shortage. In 2017, STLCC  expanded the nursing associate degree program capacity and eliminated a two-year wait to get into the program. The College also addressed personal barriers such as tuition assistance,  testing accommodations, etc., to ensure that it was adequately preparing students and promoting their success in the nursing program.

“Our efforts are removing barriers for students and helping us graduate more students in nursing and the health sciences than ever before,” Hubble noted. “These efforts will continue as  the College expands and completes two new Centers for Nursing and Health Sciences on the  Florissant Valley and Wildwood campuses as part of STLCC Transformed.”

During this project, hospital and clinical partners have expanded clinical sites, engaged in hiring events with the College, and provided financial incentives for students, helping them cover college expenses in exchange for a commitment to work with the healthcare organization upon graduation. This seamless integration of classroom learning with clinical experiences allows students to successfully transition into their chosen field. Through the established partnerships,  STLCC can enhance workforce diversity throughout the region by attracting a more varied student population.

“Our partnership and this project with STLCC help us to continue to live our values of teamwork with the community by hiring STLCC graduates who help us partner with our patients to live our mission of ‘Improving the lives of the Communities we serve,’” said Rick Stevens, president,  Christian Hospital at BJC HealthCare.
Uttam Gaulee, PhD, professor of higher education administration and policy at Morgan State  University, served as a judge for this project. He noted that the practices and outcomes  emanating from the program will serve as an exemplary model for other community colleges  and educational institutions striving to make a tangible difference in their respective  communities.  

“The reinforced bond between St. Louis Community College and its clinical partners is a testament to the value of synergetic relationships and collaborative efforts,” Gaulee said. “Their strengthened relationships underpin the very essence of community engagement and demonstrate how institutional alliances can serve the common good, particularly in filling critical workforce gaps. The foresight and dedication illustrated through this endeavor are certainly  worthy of acknowledgment.”
About the Community College Futures Assembly
The Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national forum for innovators to work as a think tank. It identifies successful responses to critical issues facing the future of community colleges and hosts a national award competition among innovative colleges in the United States and its U.S. territories. Visit the Bellwether College  Consortium site for more information.

About St. Louis Community College
Established in 1962, St. Louis Community College is the largest community college district in  Missouri and one of the largest in the United States. STLCC has four campuses: Florissant  Valley, Forest Park, Meramec and Wildwood. The College annually serves more than 50,000  students through credit courses, continuing education and workforce development programs.  

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