EVANSTON, Ill. – Oakton College and Endeavor Health℠ are partnering to create accessible pathways to quality education and in-demand employment opportunities in healthcare. Oakton College’s new Health Careers Education Center on Endeavor Health Evanston Hospital’s campus will mark Oakton’s first physical presence in Evanston, the largest community in the college’s district. A ceremonial groundbreaking today celebrated the partnership with leaders from both organizations.

A request for federal funding for the program was secured by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). The $800,000 award will defray the cost of purchasing cutting-edge training equipment critical for delivering high-quality, hands-on instruction to students.

The center will be located in Evanston Hospital’s COS Building, 2500 Ridge Avenue, Evanston and is expected to open in 2025. It will house classroom and lab instruction for three new healthcare-focused Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs, including cardiac sonography, radiography and surgical technology, pending approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The first student cohorts will begin the program in the summer of 2025, with the application process opening in the summer of 2024.

“We are excited to increase our capacity to meet the critical workforce needs of the healthcare industry by expanding our quality training programs,” said Oakton College President Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Endeavor Health, allowing Oakton to better serve students in Evanston and the eastern portion of our district. Additionally, federal resources and support secured by Senators Duckworth and Durbin will be integral to helping the Health Careers Education Center reach its full potential.”

Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032, with about 1.8 million openings each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median pay for surgical technologists, cardiac sonographers and radiographers ranges from $51,000 to $83,000.  

“Our state and our nation are stronger when we invest in our communities and families—and that’s one of the things Congressionally Directed Spending allows us to do,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “I’m proud I was able to help secure critical support for projects all across our state, including for Oakton College to help create the Health Careers Education Center and increase quality learning opportunities for students. Investing in workforce training is important and I look forward to seeing this federal investment that I secured benefit this community and its students.”

Oakton and Endeavor Health will split the cost of the renovation, and the organizations will collaborate to identify clinical rotation and job placement opportunities within the Endeavor Health system aligned with the programs. Endeavor Health leaders and team members will serve as clinical instructors during the clinical rotations. Additionally, each organization's charitable foundations are working to secure private funding to support student scholarships, additional equipment costs and other program support.

“At Endeavor Health, our vision extends beyond providing top-tier patient care; it encompasses building a sustainable talent pipeline through strategic partnerships with esteemed community organizations like Oakton College,” said Gabrielle Cummings, President, Evanston Hospital and NorthShore Hospitals. “This venture is more than an education center; it’s a commitment to nurturing local talent and ensuring that the future healthcare workforce reflects the diversity and excellence of the communities we serve.”

Prospective students are encouraged to complete prerequisite courses between the fall 2024 and spring 2025 semesters, before enrolling in programmatic courses. Registration for Oakton’s fall 2024 semester is now open.

For more information about the new programs, prerequisites and admission process, or to inquire about Oakton's other health career associate degree offerings such as health information technology, medical laboratory technology, nursing and physical therapist assistant, please visit Oakton’s website.