The partnership between Jefferson Community College and Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, will bring the medical college's respiratory therapy program to Watertown.
Any student who has a minimum of 60 semester hours and a strong background in math and science may apply for the program, which will begin in the fall at JCC.
Joseph G. Sorbello, associate professor and chairman of the medical college's Respiratory Therapy Education Department, said Upstate wants to offer as many of its programs as it can to underserved areas.
Mr. Sorbello said Upstate already had its respiratory therapy program marked for Watertown when it learned that JCC received a nearly $2 million U.S. Department of Labor Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative award earlier this year to help establish medical programs in the north country.
"Many years ago our program worked with the American Lung Association of Central New York and brought individual lectures and lectors to the north country to do this sort of thing on a request basis," Mr. Sorbello said. "We've always felt it'd be much better if we had a formal education program."
Respiratory therapists treat and evaluate people who have different types of heart and lung diseases and disorders. He said the average salary for a respiratory therapist is about $56,000.
Mr. Sorbello said Upstate always has gotten great students from JCC and he's confident that will occur for this program.
He said Upstate would like to see as many as a dozen respiratory therapy students this fall, but he's hoping to see at least six the first day of classes, Aug. 24.
For the first semester, most of the classes will be conducted by an Upstate instructor either in Watertown or through distance-learning technology.
Beginning with the second semester, students will attend some clinical rotations at Upstate.
Requirements for the respiratory therapy program include completing a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation course, having a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 and making a commitment to the full-time, 21-month program.
The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization is responsible for helping to recruit students into Upstate's respiratory therapy program.
The public is invited to the 2:30 or 7 p.m. July 27 respiratory therapy program informational sessions in Jefferson Community College's Jules Center, Building 6, Room 6-002.
ON THE NET
Upstate Medical University's respiratory rherapy program: www.upstate.edu/chp/