6 New Features for Community College Students Heading Back to School this Fall

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6 New Features for Community College Students Heading Back to School this Fall
Check out the new features waiting for community college students heading back to school, from new security procedures, to campus housing, classes and degree programs.
Students heading to community college this fall may see some new features at their otherwise familiar campuses. Many schools have spent the summer months getting ready for the next academic year adding a wide range of options designed to attract students from all demographics. Check out five new features community college students may discover when they head back to the ivied halls this fall.
 
New Technology
 
As community colleges strive to bring their training in line with 21st century workforce needs, more technology is coming to schools across the country. For example, Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports that Prince George’s Community College has added innovative technology to the school’s state-of-the-art nursing program. The school invested $43 million into a new Center for Health Studies in an effort to accommodate a growing population of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students at the school.
 
Simulated mannequins are now used inside the center to teach nursing students the finer points of diagnosis and patient care. The nursing lab also boasts transparent mirrors where professors can observe students during diagnosis trials. Updated equipment, including sonography and surgical tools, are similar to those used at nearby hospital facilities in the Prince George area.
 
“Since nursing and health fields in general are among the fastest growing jobs, we really wanted this building to help make room for more health science students,” Angela Anderson, dean of the division of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College, told Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
 
More Classes
 
Other community colleges across the country are adding to their class selection, thanks to more money in the budget for this academic year. The Press Democrat reports that the course catalogue at Santa Rosa Junior College is getting a bit bigger this year, after courses were cut the previous three years due to budget restrictions. Students returning to campus this fall will see around 500 classes return to the course offerings for the school.
 
The college is spending approximately $2.5 million to bring the classes back. Funding comes from the 2012 ballot measure known as Proposition 30, which is providing more than $200 million annually to the California Community College System. While the number of courses returning is significant, it makes up just 20% of all the courses lost when budget cuts forced schools in the state to pare back. Still, students that have been frustrated over an inability to get courses they need to graduate will be happy to discover their options got a little broader for the upcoming semester.
 
Additional Training

As employment begins to pick up in various areas, community colleges are answering the call by adding workforce training to their catalogues as well. The Tewksbury Patch reports that Middlesex Community College recently signed an agreement with Penn National Gaming to provide training in the casino industry for students. The college will be partnering with the Penn National Gaming and Casino Careers Institute to develop workforce training for local job openings.
 
The new partnership comes with a price tag of around $200 million. It will use curriculum created by Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey, but will be refined to the specific needs of the local workforce. It is expected the new training may provide as many as 500 permanent jobs to the students that complete the program.
 
Jeff Morris, director of public affairs at Penn National Gaming, told the Tewksbury Patch the new program is aligned with the goal of the organization to hire locally whenever possible. To meet that goal, the organization is working with the college to develop a high quality program that is accessible to the immediate community.
 
Revised Safety Procedures
 
In light of multiple incidents at schools nationwide, many community colleges have also unveiled new security plans to greet the new school year. According to mLive, Muskegon Community College is taking the safety of its students and staff very seriously, by beefing up security measures on campus. New measures include an automated emergency alert system, which was installed in every classroom and other locations around the college campus.
 
The security measures were implemented at a time when community colleges are on higher alert than ever before. Even the Muskegon campus was the location of an intruder earlier this year. The intruder was videotaping unknowing students as they showered. Thanks to the alerts of students on campus who contacted security personnel, the intruder was promptly arrested. 
 
On-Campus Housing
 
Housing is another new feature that will greet many community college students this fall. USA Today reports that more than one-fourth of all community colleges in the U.S. now offer some type of campus housing for students. Many of those schools have added the housing option within the last decade, as more community college students have been searching for a full college experience at their local two-year schools.
 
Some of the schools that have seen success with on-campus housing are also in the process of increasing their options. Des Moines Area Community College is expanding housing, going from around 300 students living on campus last year to more than 1,000 this year. The expansion will be accommodated by two new apartment complexes scheduled to open across the street from the campus this fall.
 
As students get ready to hit the books again this fall, a number of new opportunities may greet them at their community college campuses. With new programs, features and security coming to schools nationwide, this fall is sure to see students pleasantly surprised with the many options in store for them.

Additional Resources [+]
5 Important Trends in Community Colleges in 2013
5 Important Trends in Community Colleges in 2013
How to Know if Community College is Right for You
How to Know if Community College is Right for You
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