Governor Introduces New Partnership With Augsburg

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Governor Introduces New Partnership With Augsburg


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A new partnership between MCTC and Augsburg College was announced Thursday during a press conference that featured Governor Mark Dayton.

MCTC students completing their Associate of Science in Nursing degrees are now eligible for what President Phil Davis describes as a “dual enrollment” in a new one-year program with a “concept based approach to medicine” completing the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Augsburg. Davis noted the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, saying the program was “just in time to serve millions of people who can now afford health care.”

Dr. Alan Goldbloom from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota spoke on the longstanding partnership between Children’s and MCTC. He noted that eventually all hospitals will need BSN level nursing staffs and that this program “responds to a key need.”

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone spoke of the 41,000 yearly graduates from the Minnesota State Colleges and University system. Rosenstone praised the FastTRAC (Training, Resources, and Credentialing) program which members of the State Senate Higher Education Committee revealed at their listening tour on campus Sept 19. He also noted the success of MCTC’s previous partnership with Project for Pride in Living for the pilot Pharmacy Technology program with job placement through Target and Walgreen’s.

“None of this works without partnership,” he said.

Rosenstone thanked Dayton and the state legislature for securing $1-3 million a year in funding for “keeper projects”, which he described as projects concerning safety, efficiency, and accessibility in college. He then addressed the three commitments of MnSCU: increased access to education for all people, being the partner of choice for local businesses, and making college the best possible value.

“Solutions will be met by collaboration,” he said.

He also noted that 17% of all jobs in Minneapolis are related to health care, and acknowledged Minnesota’s position as an international healthcare destination. He also drew a parallel between MCTC and Rochester Community and Technical College, which has a special relationship with the Mayo Clinic. Mayo is the largest employer in the state, and their workforce is speculated by Dayton to double in the next 20 years.

Governor Dayton was a former doctor himself, and had many colorful anecdotes to share about his days in the healthcare field. He described a sign he penned during the 2010 nursing union labor dispute that read “Doctors are important, nurses are essential.”

According to Dayton, 30,00 nursing jobs will be opening in the next few years, netting an average salary of $64,000 yearly. He also claims Minnesota to have the lowest health insurance rates in the nation, with rates at half the cost of Wisconsin and less than half the cost of North Dakota.

MCTC nursing student Lourdmy Toussaint was eager to introduce the Governor. A daughter to Haitian parents who was raised in Florida, Toussaint has been attending MCTC since 2010. She is one of the first students to enroll and is hoping her and her fellow students can be the “moms and pops of a new program.” She describes the climate in the nursing department as being one big family, using the terms “house faculty” and “house mates” to describe her instructors and classmates.

“We’ll be able to be the trailblazers,” Toussaint said.

She, and others in the program expect other colleges around the country to follow suit with one-year Baccalaureate programs that directly transfer from community colleges.

Other students present at the conference, however,  expressed concern. Nursing student Jenna Clobes was wary.

“I have a feeling it’s so intense you can’t work while you do it,” she said.

She expressed a common understanding amongst students of medicine that the second two years of a BSN degree were less intensive to allow students time to focus on careers. As a single mom with her financial aid running out, Clobes was most concerned with what she could and couldn’t do off campus.

“A lot of us just need to go to work right away,” she said.

It’s too early to determine if students will match the enthusiasm of the Governor and the college. Clobes noted that she hadn’t personally met any students yet who’ve decided to pursue the Augsburg route. She had also mentioned a friend doing a similar one-year BSN credential program online at a discount rate through College of St. Scholastica’s R.N to B.S program.