Highmark gift to aid medical students at WCCC
John Wheelus has his eye on the prize — a job at a local hospital — at the end of his studies for an associate degree in nursing from Westmoreland County Community College.
Wheelus, 31, of North Huntingdon joked on Friday that “you may not be sure nursing is for you, especially after that first bed bath,” but he's sure it's the right fit for him.
He said a $50,000 gift presented Friday to WCCC from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield might go a long way in helping him land a job that's close to home when he graduates in May.
The gift will fund a career coach project to help the 1,600 WCCC students enrolled in medical programs, including nursing, dental hygiene, magnetic resonance imaging, phlebotomy and radiology technology, connect with regional employers.
“This will give us more options. We don't always know what is available out there as far as job openings,” Wheelus said.
Dan Onorato, executive vice president with Highmark, presented the check to President Dr. Daniel J. Obara during a program in the school's Science Hall.
“WCCC plays an important role in training talent we keep right here in Western Pennsylvania,” Onorato said.
“With this grant, we will be strengthening the bonds between young people gaining valuable educations at WCCC and the employers in the four-county area who need their talents to deliver excellent health care,” Onorato said.
Onorato said Highmark saw the benefits of matching students with employers and noted 95 percent of WCCC's graduates remain in the region.
A career coach can help students make the “correct academic decisions” while in school and assist with the job search, said Dr. Kathleen Malloy, health professional/natural sciences dean.
“A huge challenge faced by students in the nursing program is balancing the last semester of school and wondering, ‘Where will I find my first job, and will it be a good match?' ” said Dr. Ruth Irwin, director of nursing.
The contribution was in support of WCCC's recent capital campaign, which raised more than $31 million. Those funds will be used for construction and equipment of the Latrobe Center, renovation of and equipment for the Advanced Technology Center at the former Sony plant, biology lab renovations and upgrades to the main campus nursing lab and a student scholarship endowment.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield train crash search called off; no evidence found
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- A family’s flag flies again in Mt. Pleasant
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- ‘Dope sick’ man in custody in Mt. Pleasant stick-up
- Numerous Westmoreland communities to observe Memorial Day
- Arnold man could get resisting arrest charge dismissed
- Huge compressors to leave Jeannette in late-night parade on way to Texas
- Sewickley Township agrees to lease for land for playground
- Travel restrictions to be lifted on Route 30 in Hempfield