Prairie State College and Franciscan St. James Health Celebrate 50 Years of Partnership

CHICAGO HEIGHTS–(ENEWSPF)–July 16, 2015. This year, Prairie State College (PSC) celebrates 50 years of partnership with Franciscan St. James Health. That partnership recently was recognized during the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Awards, where Franciscan St. James Health (St. James) was nominated by PSC President Dr. Terri Winfree for the 2015 Business/Industry Partnership Award.

The ICCTA Business/Industry Partnership Award recognizes an Illinois business that has built a successful workforce-training alliance with a local community college. Winfree says PSC is proud to be that community college for St. James.

While St. James did not win the award this year, Winfree says the fruits of the 50-year partnership show many “victories” for both St. James and the college, as well as the PSC community as a whole.

The partnership between the two institutions began in 1965, when the PSC nursing program was started because of Dr. Dale Collins, a physician from Franciscan St. James Hospital, who also served as a member of the PSC Board of Trustees. St. James approached Bloom Community College (now PSC) to lend their support and facilities for the education of nurses.

Through a U.S. Department of Education grant, St. James’ community development division, the Southland Healthcare Career Forum, supported 76 PSC nursing students and 390 certified nursing assistants with full-tuition scholarships, books, individual tutoring, mentoring and financial support for medical and living expenses. The college and the hospital are located in the same community and both organizations are dedicated to improving the community through health and education. PSC’s non-credit division is an educational partner for the hospital’s smaller health care career grants, graduating more than 200 certified medical assistants and 40 pharmacy technicians. These graduates all live and work in the community.

“The needs of our community are great, and together we form a strong partnership to provide health care, education, and opportunity to our district residents,” Winfree said. “It is accomplishments like this that make us all feel like winners.”