KLAMATH FALLS — To address a growing need for skilled surgical assistants, Klamath Community College (KCC) and Sky Lakes Medical Center are partnering to develop a Surgical Technician program at KCC.

With a planned launch in 2024, the program will provide surgical technologist curriculum accredited by a national organization approved by the Oregon Health Authority, intended for students who meet admission standards and pass through a rigorous selection process. In addition to core instruction in KCC classrooms, students will also have access to Sky Lakes Medical Center facilities for mentored practical experience.

Sky Lakes will provide $250,000 across a five-year agreement for initial investment and development of the program in collaboration with KCC. While a close relationship has existed between KCC’s various Health Sciences programs and Sky Lakes, this marks the first time both organizations have formally teamed up to establish a new health program at KCC.

“Our health sciences programs have had long-standing ties with Sky Lakes, so to collaborate directly to launch a new program is a natural and exciting progression,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez. “Our students will benefit greatly from the direct relationship with Sky Lakes and provide career opportunities for our graduates.”

Surgical Technician will be the latest Health Sciences specialist field added to an already lengthy list of degree programs and certifications available through KCC. Current KCC Health Sciences associate degree programs include Registered Nurse, Laboratory Technician, Paramedicine, and Medical Records Specialist. Additional certificate programs include Phlebotomy, Certified Nursing Assistant , Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Licensed Practical Nurse, Medical Receptionist, Billing and Coding, and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

“Sky Lakes is proud to partner with KCC on the new Surgical Tech program,” said David Cauble, Sky Lakes CEO. “This will be one of only a few programs in the state training students for positions that are traditionally among the hardest to fill. This innovative program will provide excellent training and on-the-job experience in this critically important role.”

Available jobs within health are projected to grow 13% over the next decade, an increase of an estimated 2 million new jobs, in addition to the 1.9 million openings available each year. Salary for surgical technologists range from $60,000-77,000 in Oregon.

“Surgical Techs are a vital part of our busy operating rooms and they play an important role in providing outstanding care to our patients,” Cauble added. “This program will provide excellent, well-paid career opportunities for students throughout Klamath County and is a great example of how KCC continues to work with partners across the community to strengthen our local workforce and economy.”

For more information about KCC visit www.klamathcc.edu.