Reading Area Community College recently received a $300,000 grant from the Wyomissing Foundation to kick off the Capital Campaign to renovate and redesign Weitz Hall to the Weitz Healthcare Pavilion.
The Weitz Healthcare Pavilion will dramatically increase classroom and lab spaces for the 14 healthcare programs currently at RACC and to allow capacity to bring on nine new healthcare programs.
Currently, the college offers associate degree programs in Registered Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Medical Laboratory Technician and a new Histotechnician program, as well as for-credit certificate practical nursing program and several short-term training programs such as Phlebotomy and Nurse’s Aide.
“With increased space, we will increase the number of applicants seeking admission to our healthcare programs by as much as 80%. These students will then work here in Berks County since over 90% of our graduates stay in our region after graduation,” says RACC President, Dr. Susan Looney. “As a Hispanic Serving Institution, we graduate students of diverse backgrounds, resulting in equitable representation in the local healthcare industry which is critical as our local population reflects our student body.”
“The Wyomissing Foundation is proud to make the first major gift to this essential campaign which will directly address the healthcare workforce crisis here in our region. We are also proud to honor RACC President Emerita, Dr. Anna Weitz, who has long been a champion of the training our local workforce,” says Wyomissing Foundation President Pat Giles.
There are significant healthcare workforce vacancies throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and throughout the Commonwealth. While the two top in-demand professions are Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses, there are many current openings for lab technicians and other laboratory-based positions. Local employers also note increased demand for entry-level workers such as nurse’s aides and phlebotomists.
“Having the highly respected Wyomissing Foundation make this phenomenal award to the Weitz Healthcare Pavilion signals to our business and philanthropic community that the Weitz Healthcare Pavilion is a project that merits serious consideration. We are so grateful to the Board of the Wyomissing Foundation for their support,” says Tony DeMarco, executive director of the Foundation for RACC and the vice president of advancement.