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Collaborations good for area

A couple of collaborations announced during the past several weeks will help the institutions involved and improve opportunities for their employees and the people they serve.

On Thursday, officials from Eastern Gateway Community College and Trinity Health System entered into an agreement that will allow employees of the health care organization and their dependents to enroll for classes with no charge for tuition.

Several weeks earlier, meanwhile, leadership at the Franciscan University of Steubenville signed memorandums of understanding with representatives from the Rajagiri College of Sciences and Kristu Jayanti College that will help build pathways among the schools at many levels, including student exchanges and resident scholars placements.

Each of the agreements is good for all involved.

For Trinity, about 5,000 full- and part-time employees and dependents will be able to expand their education and employment opportunities beginning with the summer semester. In addition to being able to provide two-year degrees and certificate training in fields including medical assisting, phlebotomy, respiratory therapy and pharmacy technician, Trinity employees and their dependents will have the chance to explore many other fields.

Eastern Gateway will benefit as well, by adding students to its roster while continuing to provide quality education with minimal or no cost for tuition. Countless area residents, for example, have taken advantage of the Horizon Grant Program, which provides two years of free tuition to students from Jefferson County who begin their studies by the fall after their high school graduation.

The two organizations have a long history of working together, as Trinity’s nursing school has been housed at EGCC for several years.

For Franciscan University, the ability to work more closely with the India-based colleges will help to expand opportunities available to students. Officials said options will likely include opportunities for student and faculty exchanges among the institutions, livestreamed classes among the schools and joint research collaborations.

Rajagiri is considered to be one of India’s leading schools in engineering, management and social work, while Kristu is best known for computer science programs as well as research in biotechnology, commerce, psychology and management.

These agreements show the potential each of these institutions see in one another. They represent an opportunity for growth that will benefit one another — as well as the community — for a long time to come.

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