In business, demand that exceeds supply is the Holy Grail. If a product or service is so coveted that people are willing to stand in line for hours for the chance to get an item or are willing to be put on an impossibly long waitlist, the business knows that it can raise its prices and increase its output.
Community college programs are apparently not the same. Salt Lake Community College’s closing of admissions to some of its professional health programs would be considered a poor economic move in most business circles. By acknowledging the limits of the college’s production capacity, SLCC seems to be saying that they are incapable of meeting the demand for some of the most stable and promising career options available to students at this level.
It is clear that the college understands the need for these programs and the difficulties facing students who are trying to get into them. What isn’t clear are SLCC’s intentions regarding the programs continued viability.
If the college is taking a step back to look at the situation and come up with appropriate alternatives, it may be a good thing that admittance to programs with waitlists that extend into 2019 has been halted. Sometimes removing a system that isn’t working will help those in charge to come up with a new system that will work better.
If, on the other hand, the college is gauging what it would mean to end the programs altogether, that would be a mistake. As the baby boomers continue to age, obesity and diabetes increase and the population demographics get older, those in the medical fields will be in greater demand than ever before. Not only is important to the students who want to go into the professional health programs, it is important to anyone who will require their services.
SLCC’s problem, according to Dean of the School of Health Science Loredana Haeger as stated in the Salt Lake Tribune, is that there is a shortage of rotation opportunities. Haeger also said that hospitals are cutting back on staff expenses, which makes job placement more difficult. For a program to maintain its accreditation, it must place its graduates.
A community college’s purpose is to benefit the community and the people of that community by preparing them for better job opportunities or higher education. Knowing that the health care job trend will continue to move upward means that SLCC knows that it needs to continue with these professional health programs that are not only vital to the students taking the courses but are also vital to meeting future demand, a demand to which those running the program today will likely contribute.
Hopefully, the action of closing admissions to these programs will be the impetus that the School of Health Science needs to figure out a way to accommodate the growing demand for training in the health care fields. Otherwise, SLCC may become the place to step ahead carefully because no one will be available to help if you sprain an ankle or break a leg.