By Mike Leonard 331-4368 |
January 18, 2012

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s proton therapy training program has earned the campus finalist status for a national award for workforce training.

A Bloomington contingent will travel to Orlando Jan. 28-31 to give a presentation on its program to the annual Community College Futures Assembly, which presents the Bellwether Award for Workforce Development. The theme of the conference is “Leading Through Innovation,” and Ivy Tech’s entry is titled “Nation’s First Proton Therapy Specialist Certifications.”

“Being chosen as a finalist for the Futures Assembly Bellwether award is further recognition of the work we’re doing to ensure Ivy Tech graduates are nationally and globally competitive,” Chancellor John Whikehart said in a prepared statement. “This innovative, collaborative workforce training agreement that Ivy Tech Bloomington has in place with local industry, IU Health Proton Therapy Center and ProCure Training and Development Center affords Ivy Tech students educational opportunities that do not exist anywhere else.”

Larry Swafford, who heads up the radiation therapy program at Ivy Tech, said the proton therapy training is an additional component students can add to the school’s conventional radiation therapy program. “The associate degree program teaches radiation therapy in the traditional sense, using photons to treat patients, which is what most cancer treatment centers do,” he said.

“The proton therapy specialist gets additional training to learn the proton aspect of the profession,” Swafford said.

Bloomington was an early hot spot for proton training, with the IU facility and then the arrival of ProCure, which operates treatment centers in Chicago and Oklahoma City. With seven proton treatment centers now on line and close to 10 more under construction, the employment opportunities for Ivy Tech proton therapy graduates are strong.

Swafford said 43 students have earned their proton therapy certificates through Ivy Tech Bloomington and another 10-12 are being trained.

The Community College Futures Assembly convenes each year as an independent national policy think-tank to identify and recognize the role of community colleges in providing innovative solutions to the challenges of contemporary education. Summaries of finalist presentations will be published in the Community College Journal of Research & Practice. The award winner will be asked to write a full article for the journal.

Larry Swafford

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.