In the Texas Medical Center
Filling the healthcare gap: HCC Coleman College trains students for medical excellence
"Houston Community College has changed my life," says Jamil Aslam, a 27-year-old Houstonian who is studying at HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences. "Now I think I'm on the path to a great future."
Aslam, who plans to get a master's degree in Healthcare Administration, described himself as "one of those students who decided to go back to school at a late age."
"One thing I tell my friends is: 'It's never too late to go back to school,'" he says now.
"Houston Community College has a track record of being No. 1 in the state for placing students in jobs when they graduate," wrote Dr. Richard Wainerdi.
Aslam feels lucky to have landed a part-time job in the office of Dr. Gordon Crofoot, one of the nation's leading infectious disease physicians. As a medical assistant, he's involved in cutting-edge research in the HIV/AIDS arena, and hopes to pursue that field in the future.
Like a majority of HCC students, Aslam received grants and scholarships to help pay expenses — luckily, there is a lot of help out there for students in need of financial assistance. And like many other HCC students, Aslam is applying the skills he is learning in the classroom to a job that's helping both himself and the Houston economy.
"Houston Community College has a track record of being No. 1 in the state for placing students in jobs when they graduate," wrote Dr. Richard Wainerdi, president of the Texas Medical Center (TMC), in a recent piece in the TMC newsletter. "Once employed, these students-turned-professionals pump $2.2 billion back into the regional economy each year by buying homes, cars, food and other disposable income items."
HCC and healthcare
HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences is located in the medical center, but it's only one of several HCC colleges spread throughout the city and beyond. HCC is a massive institution with some 75,000 students and campuses in Houston, Missouri City and Stafford.
The U.S. Department of Labor projected that three million new healthcare jobs would be added between 2006 and 2016. HCC Coleman College opened its doors in the TMC in 2004 in response to that growing need for health-related jobs, Wainerdi wrote, and the college offers associate degrees and certificates in 18 health science fields.
In addition to the medical assistant program, where Aslam is enrolled, students can study everything from dental hygiene to nuclear medicine technology to nursing.
In addition to the medical assistant program, students can study everything from dental hygiene to nuclear medicine technology to nursing.
The nursing shortage, in particular, is a "long-term challenge," for the school, says Dr. Betty Young, president of HCC Coleman College.
"We need larger facilities and additional faculty to expand the program," she explains. "Over the coming years, thousands of new nurses will be required by health care employers."
Aslam, meanwhile, is appreciative of the skills he learned at Houston Community College, and enjoying his job in the healthcare field.
"[Aslam is] a great example of our students who come to HCC Coleman College, gain the confidence and skills to pursue lifelong learning, then go immediately into the workforce and contribute in their field," says HCC spokesman Brian Waddle.