Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) along with the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, The Authority and Inspira Health celebrated the completion of the health professions expansion at a ribbon cutting ceremony held on RCSJ’s Cumberland campus, Thursday, October 20.
Local government officials, administrators and educators were on hand to commemorate this significant event alongside college faculty, staff and students.
“We’re here today to celebrate the completion of the college’s health professions expansion project,” said Dr. Frederick Keating, president, RCSJ. “This is another piece of the puzzle we visualized as we continue to accomplish the College’s mission of providing experiential learning opportunities to our students. This project demonstrates the dedication of Cumberland County leadership to enhance academic spaces and make a positive investment in the community’s future.”
The health professions expansion project was initiated with finances awarded from the Chapter 12 Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund. The construction of this project was completed by The Authority.
The ribbon cutting ceremony also gave the college an opportunity to recognize and laud philanthropist, Paula J. Ring. Many of the health professions programs were based in the Paula J. Ring Educational Center located in Millville. The expansion project allowed those programs to join the others on the Cumberland campus.
Ring, a healthcare advocate, was honored to be a part of the celebration. “I am delighted to see that the program is located in the heart of the campus and that it will include training for many critically needed health occupations,” she said.
“Being close to a major hospital can only enhance the quality of this endeavor. A good program brings both academics and clinical experience together and this expansion project is on target to do just that.”
“The health professions expansion project in Cumberland County is another building block in [the county’s] foundation as a regional medical and educational hub that is designed to provide world class healthcare and train the health professionals providing that care,” said Darlene Barber, director, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.
Students participating in RCSJ’s Nursing & Health Professions and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs will be the beneficiaries of this expansion.
“We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to redesign the space to accommodate students who are entering the health professions,” said Dr. Susan Hall, dean, Nursing & Health Professions, RCSJ.
Ruth Rivera, who is in her second year in RCSJ-Cumberland’s RN program and will be graduating in May 2023, spoke at the ceremony and conveyed the excitement she and her fellow classmates felt when they entered the new classrooms.
“Coming from the old labs in the nursing building to here, it’s like a whole different world,” she said. “We walked into this huge building and it’s like, wait a minute, are you sure this is for us? This is really nice.”
The newly renovated space is home to modern, state-of-the-art training equipment essential to the development of students in the aforementioned programs. Rivera, who also graduated from RCSJ-Cumberland’s LPN program in 2021, noted the importance of being able to have access to advanced, technological equipment.
“I think … having all the new equipment and everything that you need here, it’s like opening a gift at Christmas,” she said. “It’s beneficial because you go into your clinical experience already knowing what to expect.”
The health professions expansion features four 1,000 square foot classrooms. Each classroom includes labs, electric hospital beds, interactive whiteboard projection systems, artificial intelligent classroom cameras, and more.
“The rooms will allow for group learning, skill acquisition and practice as students begin to transition into their professional roles of caring for others,” said Hall.
“This expansion project is the embodiment of our shared commitment to education, training, jobs and our community,” said Anneliese McMenamin, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Inspira Health. “The premier partnership that we forged earlier this year is already making a difference, opening new possibilities for our Inspira employees and helping the college touch the lives of more of our family members, neighbors and friends.”
The health professions and CTE programs are committed to provide RCSJ students with hands-on clinical and industry experience and personalized advisement to prepare them for in-demand careers in local, regional and global economies. n
For more information about Rowan College of South Jersey’s Career and Technical Education program, visit RCSJ.edu/CTE. To find your fit in RCSJ’s Nursing & Health Profession program, visit RCSJ.edu/Nursing.