The publication Community College Week has ranked the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) as the nation’s second largest producer of both nursing and health professions associate’s degrees among two-year institutions. CCAC was ranked second in nursing last year and fourth in other health profession degrees. CCAC spokesperson David Hoovler says the school has been focused on training health care professionals for more than two decades. “As we were involved in the revitalization of Pittsburgh’s economy we did put a lot of focus on the growing health sector,” says Hoovler. The ranking is based on the 2008-2009 school year when CCAC handed out degrees to 405 nursing graduates. Hoovler says that was a 4% increase from 2007–2008. In 2008–2009, the college awarded 593 degrees in the Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences category.
Hoovler says he does not expect the rankings to fall next year. “We still recognize that nursing is one of our strong areas and we certainly intend to keep a strong emphasis on that. We are expecting to break ground on a new science center on our Allegheny campus on the north side this fall and that shows a commitment to these programs,” says Hoovler. Hoovler says he does not think the schools has saturated the market with nurses and health care professionals, “it’s a field where there is a good bit of turn over… so I think we are helping to fill a need there.“ A study launched by the school last year shows there is still strong and growing demand for health care workers with an associated degree. He says more than 92% of CCAC’s career program graduates are working in this region. Overall, CCAC is 58th in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by all institutions in 2008–2009, with 1,661 graduates. That is down from 49th in the previous listing.