Gaston College has recently garnered state approval for a groundbreaking $60 million Health Science Education and Simulation Center, signaling a significant leap for healthcare education and training in North Carolina. This allocation stands as the state’s largest community college budget this year and represents a historic milestone for Gaston College.
Dr. John Hauser, the president of Gaston College, emphasized the unique regional impact of this facility, stating, “This will be the only regional facility open to industry that is capable of providing training opportunities to existing healthcare professionals as well as students through a full range of in-house simulation capabilities.” He envisions the center as not only a hub for students to cultivate essential skills but also as a resource for current healthcare professionals seeking to enhance their abilities, advance their positions, obtain certifications, and more.
The facility’s establishment addresses a critical need, with an estimated 700 job openings in healthcare in the region, contributing significantly to the growth of the healthcare industry. State Representative Jason Saine underscored the importance of this investment in the future healthcare workforce, recognizing the proactive approach needed to meet the region’s healthcare demands.
The planned facility will be an expansion of the David Belk Cannon Health Institute on Gaston College’s Dallas campus. It is designed to offer a spectrum of services, including advanced healthcare education and development, high-quality continuing education with healthcare-specific certifications, various academic programs, workforce development initiatives with industry certifications, apprenticeship opportunities in four health science programs, and a cutting-edge healthcare technology-driven simulation center.
State Senator Brad Overcash expressed immense pride in the funding for this critical project, emphasizing the transformative impact the Health Science Education and Simulation Center will have on healthcare in the region for generations to come.
Gaston College, already home to five nationally accredited programs and numerous health and human services offerings, envisions substantial growth through this new facility. Collaborating with partners such as CaroMont Regional Medical Center, Atrium Health, Gaston County Schools, Lincoln County Schools, Cleveland Community College, and Catawba Valley Community College, the college aims to broaden access to the center, creating a robust network for healthcare education and training.