Clark College announced Thursday it received a $141,260 grant to develop a surgical technician program — the first of its kind at Clark and believed to be the first in all of Southwest Washington.
School officials expect the new program to establish a two-year Associate of Applied Technology degree in surgical technology, helping to create a new local cohort of specialized health care workers. The grant will fund new program materials, the outfitting of classroom space and the eventual hiring of a program director to work with current college staff in curriculum development.
“Graduates from this new program will meet a critical workforce need,” said Clark College President Karin Edwards. “We are dedicated to training our local workforce not only for this current generation, but also for the next. This program will ensure that our hospitals will have well-trained surgical technicians.”
The grant proposal was a collaboration between PeaceHealth and the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals and was funded through a Hospital Education and Employment Training grant administered by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Representatives from PeaceHealth and the federation said they would continue to help inform Clark staff in the development of curriculum and maintenance of ongoing connections with their pool of health care professionals.
“Surgical technicians are in high demand, and play key roles on our clinical team,” said Sean Gregory, chief executive of Columbia Network, PeaceHealth. “This program will be a critical resource to prepare students for an excellent career path at hospitals and surgery centers across our region.”
Implementation of the funding to create the program will begin this summer. In an effort led by Clark College allied health professor Beth Joachim, the school will hire a director of the surgical technician program to further develop curriculum by January 2024. The school then estimates the program’s first students will begin classes in fall 2024.
Clark College will soon file for a second HEET grant to help fully implement the first cohort, the announcement said.