by Zack Edwards, AJ Mannering, & Lyndsey Rogers, staff writers
With growth comes change. And Pikes Peak State College is working to meet the change within the community by expanding its program and degree offerings as an effort to help the rising career needs of the community.
PPSC expects enrollment and economic growth that will be used to further improve the college’s ability to provide student services and serve local jobs in demand. Around half of the new programs and degree offerings are in the medical field.
“Our community voiced their needs for programs such as bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) and the Advanced Paramedic,” said Montse Edie- Korleski, dean of medical sciences at PPSC. Since these programs are considered some of the most needed services, they are the first expanded.
This does come with a few hiccups in allowing for more student opportunities: “For some of our medical programs, securing adequate clinical opportunities is a challenge as growth continues, especially in nursing,” says vice-president for instructional services, Jacquelyn Gaiters-Jordan.
There have also been complications with staffing. “The college is currently facing challenges due to staffing as we seek to recruit the best faculty to instruct our students in these areas,” says Gaiters-Jordan.
Colleges like PPSC aren’t the only ones facing employment troubles. According to a survey by the Colorado Department of Education regarding K-12 education, “Of the 5,729 teaching positions to hire, 440 (8%) remained unfilled for the school year and 1,128 (20%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. Despite the three-year decrease in total positions to be hired, there has been an increase in the percentage of positions that remain unfilled (+6% since 2019-2020) and that are filled via a shortage mechanism (+7% since 2019-2020).”
PPSC remains true to offering and expanding various two-year degree options and four-year degree options while working through the complications that arise with new changes. While the hiccups are worked through, there are already benefits coming from the expansion.
“Collaborative efforts with other institutions and industry partners have increased. Grant opportunities and community partners have increased the number of scholarships for students and support growth in several areas,” says Gaiters-Jordan.
A press release listed on the Pikes Peak State College website mentions the various new programs already added and that are currently in the planning stage.
New two-year programs in planning phase:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Remote Pilot (Drone) Certification
- Mechanical Engineering
- General Engineering
Bachelor’s degrees currently offered include:
- Emergency Service Administration
- Advanced Paramedic Practitioner
Upcoming bachelor’s degrees currently expected for 2024 include:
Upcoming bachelor’s degrees in planning phase:
- Healthcare Administration
- Respiratory Therapy