Jamestown Business College is nearing a milestone that bodes well for the entire community.
In November, 16 members of the Hispanic community who enrolled in the college's Medical Office Assistant certificate program are scheduled to graduate from JBC. According to David Conklin, president of JBC, the certificate program started due to a diminished number of graduates in the medical field to fill local jobs. Conklin said he and Rosanne Johanson, vice president of JBC, noticed bilingual students were scooped up quickly.
From those beginnings grew a program that could be a model to begin filling a growing void in the community. From 2000 to 2010, Chautauqua County saw its number of Hispanic families increase by nearly 40 percent - a rate more than double the rest of New York state. Such changing demographics create situations in which people need services but haven't yet learned English and the people providing services don't speak a foreign language. The end result is frustrating for all involved.
Give credit to JBC officials and to Max Martin, Eastside YMCA branch manager, for filling a void that helps the entire community. Not only will 16 more people be qualified for jobs - and hired quickly, according to college officials - but a frustrating language gap could begin disappearing from area medical offices. The JBC classes are also a wonderful foot in the door to education for these non-traditional Hispanic students.
It is one thing to say our society wants to put people to work and entirely another to create programs that actually accomplish that goal. We hope Jamestown Business College's Medical Office Assistant program serves as a springboard for similar programs in the future.