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WGTC program one of five in nation to receive $2,500 grant

The Clinical Laboratory Technology and Phlebotomy program at West Georgia Technical College is one of only five in the nation to receive a $2,500 grant from the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), and program director Dr. Phyllis Ingham hopes to use the grant to recruit more students to the program.

“The Georgia Department of Labor statistics indicate that we have a faster-than-average growth in demand for clinical lab techs, with a growth rate of about 33 percent per year,” Ingham said. “That’s the gap we’re working to close, so we won’t continue to have the shortage we’re experiencing now. We’re hoping to use these funds in our recruiting, so we can involve our current students in those efforts in a ‘students recruiting students’ initiative.”

According to information from the ASCLS, the Laboratory Program Development Grants were created to help programs “educate and empower future medical laboratory professionals.” Ingham said approximately 80 percent of all decisions made by physicians are based on lab results, which come from clinical lab technicians and technologists.

“We already have a severe shortage of techs across the country, and it’s only going to get more in-demand as our population continues to age,” Ingham said. “When our students graduate, they have a job waiting on them. So we’re hoping to use this grant to get that message out there, so prospective students can see what a worthwhile career this can be.”

Ingham said she focused on students – the program’s “best resource” – in writing the grant.

“Our new Students Recruiting Students program will promote the profession and increase clinical laboratory enrollment through advertising, outreach and recruiting,” Ingham said. “The program will provide opportunities for our students (past and present) to share their story, recruiting clinical

laboratory students for our program in the future, meeting the growing healthcare needs of the residents of the west Georgia area.”

Ingham said she and the Clinical Laboratory Technology faculty are “honored and excited” the program was selected to receive the grant.

“We are excited to promote our profession through students sharing their stories of hard work, determination and success,” Ingham said. “Our students are our most valuable resource, and enabling them to share their stories to others will have a positive effect on increasing enrollment, as well as bringing attention to what we do in the clinical laboratory profession.”