Many people may not realize it but the Providence St. Joseph Health family includes a liberal arts university in Great Falls, Montana. It’s an excellent school that has been educating students for 85 years.
Today, we’re excited to announce three ways we’re helping the school grow to meet the workforce needs of the future and fill the pipeline of jobs across Providence St. Joseph Health.
1. A new name
Effective July 1, the University of Great Falls will be known as the University of Providence. The new name honors its founders, the Sisters of Providence, and reflects its commitment to training health care professionals.
2. A new school of health professions and expanded liberal arts and sciences
Health care is the nation’s top job creator, with nearly one in four U.S. jobs created last year in the sector. Yet, the industry continues to see shortages of nursing, clinical and other candidates.
The university’s new School of Health Professions and an expanded School of Liberal Arts and Sciences will help us develop the talent and skills needed across Providence St. Joseph Health and other health care organizations. The programs will also be a resource for the 111,000 caregivers who work at any of the Providence St. Joseph Health family of organizations, giving them an opportunity to advance their education and training, and develop their careers.
The School of Health Professions is expected to reach as many as 10,000 students in 10 years, with courses available online and at satellite locations, with the first satellite expected in the Puget Sound area. The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences will remain on the Great Falls campus, with a goal to grow enrollment to 1,400 students within the next decade.
3. Job placement within Providence St. Joseph Health
Both schools will focus on placing graduates within the Providence St. Joseph Health system, which operates 50 hospitals, 829 clinics and myriad of programs and services across seven states. This gives students a clear advantage. At the same time, it assures us that our new recruits have received an excellent education and are committed to our culture, mission and values. We believe all these factors will help us increase caregiver retention across our system.
Continuing a tradition of uncommon courage
At a time when higher education is facing a number of challenges, I am proud that our university is pursuing an innovative approach that will help us meet the health care needs of the future while grounding the workforce of tomorrow in solid values.
I want to thank Tony Aretz, Ph.D., our university president, for his visionary leadership. I am sure our founders – who were known for their uncommon courage and commitment to education and health care – would be proud of the bold direction the school is taking.