For Hometown News
FORT PIERCE -- Indian River State College received unanimous approval from the State Board of Education on Sept. 17 to launch new Bachelor's Degree programs in accounting, elementary education and health care management, expanding IRSC's baccalaureate programs to 23.
Classes will begin Jan. 8, 2014, and applications for the new programs will be accepted beginning Sept.30.
"With our economy beginning to strengthen and diversify, it's very important that Treasure Coast residents have local access to higher education opportunities that open new doors," said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC president. "The new IRSC Bachelor's Degree program in Accounting will support new and existing businesses. In fact, the State Board commended the College for meeting an identified statewide and regional need for programs related to accounting and financial services. In addition, our graduates in Health Care Management will find leadership positions in a wide range of health care facilities. We have experienced a great deal of interest in elementary education and the new degree program will enable Treasure Coast residents to earn their teaching degree locally with many opportunities to develop into highly qualified teachers. IRSC has continued to expand its Bachelor's Degree programs over the past five years and the new offerings reinforce the College's role in development of a flourishing regional economy."
Over 70 area employers and community leaders wrote letters to the Florida Board of Education supporting IRSC's program proposals.
Major accounting firms throughout the region submitted letters of support stressing the need for local training in this field.
"We have had employees pursue their accounting degree by commuting at night and weekends to colleges outside our Treasure Coast, putting a significant burden on them and their families," said Gerald A. DiBartolometo, Jr. CPA and principal with DiBartolomeo, McBee, Hartley & Barnes, P.A. "It is always a great opportunity to hire home grown talent with ties to the local community. We would definitely hire accounting graduates from Indian River State College."
Administrators of area hospitals and health care facilities indicated they would be eager to hire IRSC graduates with a Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Management.
"Martin Health System will open an 80 bed hospital on the Tradition Center for Innovation campus in December 2013 and estimates hiring 300 to 600 additional employees for the next three years and several hundred more in the next six years," said Mark E. Robitaille, president and CEO of Martin Health Systems. "The Health Care Management Baccalaureate Degree Program will add value to our current recruitment efforts for a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce. We have a long and congenial relationship with IRSC and highly regard the graduates of its programs."
The superintendents of area school districts expressed support of the Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.
"The School District of Indian River County is in full support of the development of the Baccalaureate Degree Program in elementary education so that access to affordable, baccalaureate-level, and post-secondary education in our region may continue to grow. This new addition will be very favorably received by our employees, students and the members of the community," said Dr. Frances J. Adams, superintendent, School District of Indian River County.
All IRSC Bachelor's degree programs are fully accredited, meet Florida statutory requirements for Baccalaureate education and provide a strong foundation for graduate study.
The three new programs were selected based on a needs assessment of student interest, economic development trends, projected job growth and analysis of college resources such as faculty, facilities, libraries and technology.
More than 3,500 students are now enrolled in 20 Bachelor's Degree programs at IRSC, majoring in fields such as education, nursing, organizational management, biology, digital media and human services. IRSC began offering four-year degree programs in 2008 and 1,271 students have graduated with Bachelor's Degrees since the program's inception.
For more information, call (866) 792-4772 or visit www.irsc.edu.