Nov. 10, 2022, Klamath Falls, Ore. –. Oregon Tech’s Respiratory Care program will be infused with new equipment and technology thanks to three generous grants totaling $696,000. A lead grant of $50,000 was awarded by The Roundhouse Foundation, followed by $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds through the Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), and a $446,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Wash.

The Oregon Tech Foundation is leading the effort to raise a total of $920,000 for Respiratory Care program equipment, which will provide the necessary funds to ensure students are trained on state-of-the-art equipment used in hospitals today. Raising the remaining $244,000 will ensure students can learn on this lifesaving equipment.

Oregon Tech’s Respiratory Care program was brought into the spotlight throughout 2020-2022 as respiratory therapists were relied upon during the pandemic to operate ventilators and provide lifesaving breathing interventions.

“COVID-19, the flu, and an uptick in respiratory syncytial virus all impact our communities’ overall health and welfare,” said Dr. Ken Fincher, Executive Director of the Oregon Tech Foundation and Vice President of University Advancement. “The Respiratory Care program at Oregon Tech is preparing respiratory therapists to meet the demand of these and other conditions faced daily in health care settings.”

The Respiratory Care degree program prepares students to sit for the National Board for Respiratory Care certificate and for entry into the respiratory care profession. Oregon Tech program graduates earn an average salary of $65,000 within six months of graduation.

These meaningful investments in respiratory care equipment and technology will enable students to have hands-on experiences using the most up-to-date and varied equipment to better prepare them to be respiratory therapy professionals. It will also enable potential program expansion.

The grants were received from three organizations:

  • The Roundhouse Foundation, based in Sisters, Ore., partners with community organizations to develop, implement and sustain creative, place-based approaches and programs designed to strengthen and celebrate rural Oregon and beyond. The organization’s initial $50,000 award jumpstarted the Respiratory Care fundraising campaign.
  • The American Rescue Plan Act funding was allocated to KCEDA from Representative E. Werner Reschke to enable continued and expanded access to services, including supporting the public health response, and laying the foundation for a strong and equitable economic recovery. Funds were distributed by KCEDA to benefit rural health outcomes in the Klamath Basin and beyond.
  • The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest — Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington — that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.

The funding will purchase humidifiers, Hillrom beds, mannequin premature neonates, a pulmonary function test system, ventilators, bilevel positive airway pressure machines, and a neonatal birthing simulator for teaching and learning bedside manner skills development, clinical applications, and continued response to the current and future COVID health care crises.

The grants from The Roundhouse Foundation, the American Rescue Plan Act, and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust enhance Oregon Tech’s already top-notch Respiratory Care program, benefit rural health outcomes, and provide ongoing job creation with economic benefits.

To support the Respiratory Care program equipment campaign, please contact Director of Development Mira Wonderwheel at 541-851-5679 or