When community colleges partner with businesses in the community, it can benefit students and residents alike. Never has that been more true than at Cape Cod Community College, where the dental hygiene program meets a need for dental care in surrounding communities, as well as employment opportunities for the students that complete the program. Recently, the school received a huge boost to its program capabilities, thanks to a generous gift from a single benefactor and the help of at least one business in the community.
Cape Cod Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program
According to the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch, the fully accredited dental hygiene program at Cape Cod Community College is the only one of its kind within a 50-mile radius. Currently, the competitive program boasts a large training area filled with 14 dental chairs and a bevy of dental tools students will need to learn how to use to work in their chosen field. Manning those chairs are 42 students each year, preparing for lucrative, stable positions within the dental industry. Students run the gamut from high school graduates moving directly into the program to older adults looking for a career boost or change.
While the school’s program is well-acclaimed within the dental community, the college also knows it could be doing much more to serve those in surrounding areas with high-quality dental care. More students could be trained if the facilities could be expanded to accommodate additional classes. Also, in light of the accreditation review coming up in 2013, an update to equipment is much needed. According to a report at the Cape Cod Times, accreditation requires a school to submit to a top-to-bottom review of the facilities, as well as the curriculum taught.
This video reports on the pinning ceremony in the dental hygiene program at Cape Cod Community College.
Serving the Under-Served
In addition to the training provided by Cape Cod Community College, the school also serves an important function within the community. Currently, the dental hygiene clinic at the school allows students the opportunity to hone their skills while providing dental care to uninsured and under-served populations throughout the Cape Cod area. According to the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch, the school offers an average of 1,800 appointments to Cape Cod residents every year, with most of those provided to patients with low-income backgrounds.
Students in the dental hygiene program do most of their hands-on training at the clinic, which was established in 1975. However, since the time the clinic first opened, technology and dental procedures have evolved considerably. The school has not had the funding to provide the necessary updates to their facilities – until recent donations made that possible.
This video offers an overview of Cape Cod Community College.
A Generous Gift
According to a second report at the Cape Cod Times, plans to expand and renovate the dental hygiene program got into full swing with a recent announcement from well-known Cape Cod philanthropist Maureen Wilkins. Wilkins pledged a $1.25 million donation to the school for the purpose of updating the dental hygiene program and facility. The donation was quickly increased with an additional pledge of $250,000 from Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank. The $1.5 million provides more than half of the funding needed for the $2.5 million renovations proposed by the college. Additional donations will be sought from the community to help the school meet its full goal.
“This gift moves the campaign into its public phase,” Liz Lewis, chair of the Cape Cod Community College Educational Foundation Board of Directors, announced in the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch. “The challenge match serves as an appeal to community leaders to help us reach the $2.5 million goals.”
The president of Cape Cod Community College, Kathleen Schatzberg, also expressed her sincere gratitude to both Wilkins and Five Cents Savings Bank for their generosity. Schatzberg stated in the Cape Cod Times, “I simply can’t overstate the importance of this gift to our students and the community.”
Schatzberg added that if the school had not received the funding through donations, they would have been faced with the prospect of taking out a loan to expand and update their facilities. She told Cape Cod Times, “The long and short of it is if we didn’t get this money through private donations, we’d have to borrow it.”
About Maureen Wilkins
The $1.25 donation from Maureen Wilkins marks the largest single donation in the history of Cape Cod Community College. Wilkins and her late husband Frank moved to Cape Cod in the 1990s and have been active benefactors for the college ever since. According to the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch, their mission has been to “support job training and education, to help people reach their full potential, and to better support themselves and their families.” To that end, the couple has given nearly $4 million to the college throughout the years, and it currently offers 15 $4,000 grants to students who are single parents every year.
In hopes of gaining support from the dental community for this latest project, Wilkins has appointed two professionals to serve alongside her as Honorary Co-chairs for this project. Robert Faiella is a practicing dentist in Osterville and president-elect of the American Dental Association. Neil Ringler is another dentist with a practice in West Barnstable and a long-time supporter of the community college.
“This college has an important role to play as a place of transition for the unemployed and underemployed; for those looking to make a change…We are instruments of social justice,” Schatzberg said of Cape Cod Community College in the Cape Cod Times. With the additional funding to expand and update its dental hygiene facilities, the college will be even better equipped to meet that goal.
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