PARAMUS, N.J. – With more than 300 guests representing education, government, healthcare and industry in attendance, Bergen Community College officials cut the ribbon on the $25.5 million Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center May 17. The facility represents the institution’s project as part of the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act passed with bipartisan support in the legislature and approved by voter referendum in that year’s elections.
“Healthcare is a critical cog in our region’s economy,” College President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “As Bergen has done for almost 50 years, the Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center will serve as the pipeline for educating and training this principal sector of our area’s workforce. This building further solidifies that when a Bergen County resident visits a hospital, physician or medical facility, it will be a Bergen Community College student who cares for them.”
As noted by Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco III, who spoke at the event, healthcare represents the No. 1 employment sector in Bergen County – a workforce that includes six hospitals and more than 70,000 jobs in total. Nearly 470 students graduated from Bergen’s health professions programs and entered the workforce or continued their education at a four-year institution last year. Among the graduates, students in the veterinary technology program delivered a 100 percent job placement rate.
The College offers nine health professions certificate and degree programs, including diagnostic medical sonography, medical office assistant and nursing, and eight non-credit certification programs, including certified home health aide, certified pharmacy technician and medical coding and billing specialist. Paramedic science, unveiled in 2014, represents the College’s latest health professions program, while its exercise science certificate and degree program were the first in the state. Additionally, Bergen maintains the only college-based radiation therapy training program in New Jersey. Collectively, more than 1,000 students enrolled in Bergen’s health professions programs last year.
The 63,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility features simulation laboratories and SMART classrooms to enhance the learning experience, preparing students with the advanced skills needed to succeed in today’s evolving healthcare labor market. A first floor, 24-chair dental hygiene clinic will not only allow students to complete 600 hours of clinical practice, but provide the local community with a low-cost oral healthcare option.
The College broke ground on the Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center in August 2013. RSC Architects and Benjamin R. Harvey oversaw the design and construction of the facility, which marks the College’s first new freestanding building since West Hall in 2007.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
# # #