PEORIA (WEEK) - Methodist College in Peoria is looking to capitalize on the increasing demand for healthcare professionals by introducing a new baccalaureate program.
The college announced Wednesday it's offering a Bachelor of Science in Medical and Life Sciences degree starting next year, with the hope that its students will stay in the Peoria area to pursue their health careers.
In a news release, the college said a team of administrators and faculty designed the program to provide preparatory education in the areas of Biology, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Physician Assistant.
The school noted the healthcare industry is the largest employer in the Central Illinois region.
“We know that local students leave the Peoria area to be educated in pre-professional programs and subsequently pursue careers in communities outside of the region,” Methodist College Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Eileen Setti said in a prepared statement.
“Our goal is that through this program, students will be introduced to the many health career opportunities in our region, and that they will want to return to practice after they obtain their advanced degrees," Setti also said.
Methodist cited statistics showing that 708 healthcare organizations operate in the region employing 29,731 people in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Mason, and Logan counties. This is 25% above the national average of healthcare professionals working in communities of similar sizes.
The healthcare industry supports 16% of all jobs in Greater Peoria, according to the data provided by local economic development officials.