A new nursing program is coming to Franklin’s Ivy Tech location, and more new programs could soon follow.

The new program, which will accept 20 students each semester for an associate degree in nursing, will move into undeveloped space in the Ivy Tech Community College learning site on the east side of Franklin. Renovating that 3,000-square-foot space with a nursing skills lab, faculty offices and study space will cost about $450,000, which is coming from an endowment, said Tina Jobe-Gross, president of the Franklin learning site.

Ivy Tech officials also have been meeting with local employers to discuss the best use for the remaining 7,000 square feet of space at the Franklin location, and could add industry certifications in the future, she said.

The decision to add a nursing program was based on the interest from local students and the need for nurses, both locally and nationally, she said.

Currently, about 90 students from Johnson County are in the nursing program at Ivy Tech’s campus in Lawrence, and officials want to have a closer option. Their plan is to bring 20 new nurses into the program every semester starting in January, which also helps open the nursing program to other students. Currently, that program is extremely competitive and can require a 4.0 grade-point average, Jobe-Gross said.

“We hope to be able to open even more spots in the future,” she said.

The new nursing area will include a skills lab with five hospital beds and mannequin simulators that nursing students can practice on, she said.

Those mannequins can simulate a seizure or heart attack, can breathe and can show students what they might face in a real life situation, said Kelli Schnetzer, Ivy Tech executive director of marketing and communications.

In addition to finishing construction, Ivy Tech also needs to raise money for or get donations of equipment and create partnerships where students can gain clinical experience, Jobe-Gross said. The program also needs approval from the state board of nursing, she said.

Ivy Tech officials have met with local hospitals and long-term care facilities to begin forming those partnerships, she said. Not only does the student get experience, but those facilities also then have future job candidates they know and have worked with, she said. Students in the program will earn their associate degree, but many employers prefer nurses have a bachelor’s degree, which they can earn from another college after transferring their credits, she said.

The learning site in Franklin is also adding other programs, such as a phlebotomist program, which allows students to get into health care and then continue to study if they want to move into other careers in the field, she said.

Officials also are looking at other career programs, including in industrial work, after having discussions with local employers.

“We are listening to Franklin and what is the need of the local area and workforce,” Schnetzer said.

In discussions with local employers, Ivy Tech officials asked what jobs local employers were struggling to fill, Jobe-Gross said.

They want to use that information to either add to current programming or add new ones into the remaining space in the learning site building. Some of the possibilities include machine operators and industrial maintenance, or other industry certifications that would help local businesses, such as in machining or welding, where students can still earn a living wage, she said.

Those are conversations Ivy Tech officials want to continue having with local employers, she said.

At a glance

What’s coming to Ivy Tech

Nursing program

What: A new program where students can earn an associate degree in nursing.

Where: Ivy Tech is remodeling 3,000 square feet on its Franklin campus for a skills lab, faculty offices and study area.

When: January 2018

Industrial certifications

What: Officials are also studying expanding existing programs or adding new programs that focus on industrial certifications, such as in machining, welding and industrial maintenance.

Where: In the remaining 7,000 square feet of space in the current Ivy Tech location.

When: Not yet determined.

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.