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MCC, WKCTC, Murray State sign partnership agreement for respiratory care program

Madisonville Community College, West Kentucky Community & Technical College and Murray State University have announced a formal partnership to expand MCC’s associate in applied science degree in respiratory care program into the Jackson Purchase area.

The partnership, which is funded through a Delta Health Care Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will extend the reach of MCC’s respiratory care program to help fulfill the need for qualified respiratory care technicians within the region.

“WKCTC is excited to participate and support the Delta Health Care Grant with Madisonville Community College and Murray State University,” said Dr. Anton Reece, president of WKCTC. “We have received requests from our health care partners regarding the rising demand for respiratory care and this partnership is a unique collaboration to meet that demand.”

Left to right: Dr. Anton Reece, Dr. Robert Jackson, Dr. Cindy Kelley and Tina Siddon at the press conference announcing a partnership agreement to expand the respiratory care program at Madisonville Community College. (Photo courtesy of MCC)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for respiratory care therapists are projected to increase by 23 percent through 2026, with an additional 30,500 new positions expected nationally. That demand is impacting employers throughout the Western Kentucky and Jackson Purchase regions.

“West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s partnership with MCC and Murray highlights our responsiveness to meeting business and industry needs in our region,” said Dr. David Heflin, WKCTC vice president of academic affairs. “The combined resources of our institutions will provide our students an incredible opportunity.”

Dr. Cindy Kelley, president of MCC, also spoke to the strength of the partnership. “Our program in Respiratory Care has been accredited since the 1960s,” said Kelley. “We are well-established and well-respected by facilities throughout Western Kentucky and we have faculty who are highly qualified in the field.”

“I am proud of our program and proud to work with our sister institution and with MSU as our regional partner to fulfill a need for qualified respiratory therapists in the state,” she said.

Respiratory Care students in the Paducah area will participate in class lectures through synchronous, bi-directional distance learning from MCC’s Health Technologies Campus to WKCTC’s campus. Students will complete skill demonstration lab activities in-person in Madisonville on a bi-weekly basis.

In the Respiratory Care program, students are trained in supporting cardiopulmonary health, rehabilitation, therapeutics, and life support. Graduates from the associate in applied science degree program are eligible to sit for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) licensure exam, which is recognized nationally as the professional standard for respiratory therapists.

Through this collaboration, MCC will partner with Murray State to develop curriculum for a bachelor’s degree completion option for graduates of the associate degree program.

“I think this initiative is extremely important,” said Dr. Robert Jackson, president of Murray State. “We are excited about the future, respiratory therapy, our bachelor’s program, and this partnership with two wonderful colleges.”

The program through MSU will provide an option for students in the region to obtain a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care, which is a recently adopted recommendation from the American Association of Respiratory Care for entry-level employment in the field.

From Madisonville Community College

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