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$40 Million Earmarked for Health Program at South Suburban College

citizen | 3/7/2013, 4:18 p.m.
Amid speculation that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be one of...
Local leaders unite for major capital announcement at SSC. Pictured from left to right: Don DeGraff, Mayor of South Holland; Pat Quinn, Illinois Governor; Frank Zuccarelli, Chairman of the SSC Board of Trustees; Anthony DeFilippo, SSC Trustee; Terry Wells, SSC Trustee and Mayor of Phoenix; Joseph Whittington, SSC Trustee; and Norm Abbott, Mayor of Lansing. Photo courtesy of SSC.

Amid speculation that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be one of the biggest job creators in Illinois this year, South Suburban College (SSC) received a sizeable amount in state funding recently for expansion of its health programs.

"South Suburban College has become the premier school in the southland for students who are preparing for 21st century jobs," Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said. "This project will create hundreds of jobs now and lay the foundation for thousands more to get the training they need to become the next generation of nurses and medical technicians. By working together now, we can drive more economic growth in the future."

Gov. Quinn held a press conference last month at South Suburban College, to announce a $52.5 million project for an Allied Health addition that will be supported by $41.6 million in funding from Gov. Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now!, capital construction program.

The project is expected to create new job opportunities while expanding the college's wide range of Allied Health programs, providing significantly more educational opportunities for the in-demand healthcare jobs of the Chicago and south suburban region.

"As both a member of the medical field and Chair of the Board Finance Committee, I am truly thankful that Governor Quinn and the Capital Development Board have recognized the opportunity to invest in healthcare education here at South Suburban College through a project that would not be attainable without their support," said Anthony DeFilippo, licensed pharmacist and SSC Trustee. "It is now our responsibility to ensure our students graduate with the hope of starting a successful career, and we are committed to this."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the health care and social assistance sector is expected to add 5.6 million workers from now until 2020. Construction is also expected to see a significant gain.

SSC educates more than 17,000 students annually, approximately 90 percent of whom are low-income, living with a disability or first-generation college students.

More than 25 percent of SSC students are choosing career pathways in nursing and Allied Health professions.

In addition to Nursing, SSC offers training in Echocardiography, Ultrasound, Medical Assistant, Medical Records Technology, Phlebotomy, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiologic Technology, MRI Technology, Pharmacy Technician, and is expecting to soon offer a new Speech Language Pathology Assistant program.

This project is expected to help SSC meet the growing demand by expanding classroom and laboratory space, and other technology and support facilities designed to help students receive the necessary training to become employed in the medical field.

By Deborah Bayliss