Pima Community College’s Center for Training and Development on June 13 will honor 16 students who have earned certificates in the high-demand profession of Practical Nursing.
Among those receiving a certificate is Luz Danira Almeraz, who received financial assistance and extra student services support through PCC's federally funded Pathways to Healthcare Program, designed to help low-income Pima County residents earn degrees or certificates in any of 16 specialized medical fields, including Practical Nursing.
"Pathways not only helped with my tuition, but was there through difficult times when I needed support," Almeraz said. "I have been struggling for years as a single mom with no support. With Pathways, I felt I was not alone. After I graduate, I would like to start working and provide for my family, and start taking perquisite classes for the Nursing Associate of Applied Science degree to become a registered nurse."
Luz is typical of Pathways students, who often are single parents or may be working two or more minimum wage jobs, and may be caregivers for an aging or chronically ill relative.
"CTD and Pathways help many people who otherwise may not have opportunities for education," said Brian Stewart, Director of both CTD and the Pathways program. "After completing their training, they can give back to the community and still have opportunities for more training leading to better pay. It gives them careers, perhaps for the first time in their lives."
Pathways is a partnership between PCC and Pima County OneStop designed to help recipients of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other low-income individuals get training and jobs in healthcare professions that do not have enough qualified workers to fill needed positions. Pathways is funded by a five-year, $18.5 million Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) grant from the Administration for Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. For more information on enrolling in the program, call 206-5250.
CTD has five Practical Nurse Pinning ceremonies each calendar year, with approximately 16 in each group. The program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing. The graduates are eligible to take state and national licensing exams.
Prospects for Licensed Practical Nurse jobs are better than for most other Tucson jobs. In May 2012, average hourly wage of $37.11 for Tucson jobs in the healthcare practitioner and technical occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to the average hourly wage in Tucson of $20.45, about 7 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01
In addition, in 2010, the median annual pay nationally for LPNs was $40,380, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BOLS). The BOLS predicts employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses will grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Factors in the growing demand are the aging U.S. population leading to an increased overall need for healthcare. LPNs are employed in such healthcare settings as hospitals, physicians' offices and outpatient clinics, as well as in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, where demand especially is expected to rise.
Now, CTD Practical Nursing students who are 50 or older also may be able to receive other support services designed to help them complete degrees or certificates in various high-demand occupations in healthcare, as well as social services or education services. That support is through PCC's participation in the Plus-50 Encore Completion Program, an effort to train 10,000 baby boomers. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
Among CTD's nearly two dozen clock-hour certificate programs are Practical Nursing and Nursing Assistant training, as well as a refresher for Registered Nurses. PCC also offers a Practical Nurse credit-based certificate and a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate exit option in its Associate of Applied Science degree program at West Campus. CTD, which offers training based on local industry feedback, also offers training in health, culinary and food service, and business professions, and boasts a 90 percent completion rate and an 85 percent job placement.
This year, CTD celebrates its 50th anniversary. PCC has run the center since 1979 when it took over administration of the Tucson Skills Center, and in 1993 renamed it the Center for Training and Development. Since 1963, CTD has trained approximately 50,000. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, CTD is hosting a gala reception on Sept. 4, with proceeds benefiting the CTD endowment in the Pima Community College Foundation.
- What: PCC Center for Training and Development’s Practical Nurse Pinning Ceremony
- When: 4 p.m., June 13, 2013
- Where: Cafeteria, Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz
- Details: 16 graduates; ceremony includes a candle-lighting and recitation of the Nightingale Pledge
- Info: 520-206-5100; Center for Training and Development Web page