BCC Now Admitting Students into Respiratory Care Program

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) is now accepting applications for the fall semester for its Respiratory Care program. 
The program is part of a workforce development pipeline at Berkshire Health Systems (BHS), otherwise known as the "talent pipeline," which is designed to create a direct career path from education and training to full-time employment at BHS.  
The largest employer in the Berkshires, BHS covers the cost of all training in its pipeline programs and also offers trainees full-time pay with benefits while they are completing their training. 
"In as little as two years, students can earn an associate degree in respiratory therapy at BCC, then complete their training at BHS, where respiratory therapists are in demand," said Lori Moon, BCC Dean of Nursing. "It's a fantastic partnership that benefits both BCC students and the growing healthcare workforce in the Berkshires." 
Respiratory care practitioners help treat patients with a wide range of cardiopulmonary illnesses, including asthma or heart failure. Respiratory care includes diagnostic testing and administering oxygen, various other gases and aerosol drugs. 
BCC's two-year Respiratory Care program, a sequence of lecture, laboratory and clinical courses, prepares students to become Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs) and Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs). The program combines coursework and hands-on training, emphasizing the rigorous technical and academic competencies required of a respiratory therapist. Students who complete the program are eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care examination. 
Graduates of the program are employed in diverse areas of healthcare, holding positions such as neonatal/pediatric specialists, adult critical care specialists, pulmonary rehabilitation specialists, critical care transport therapists, home-care therapists, clinical educators and many more. The projected average salary of respiratory therapists working in the United States is more than $73,000 per year. In Massachusetts, respiratory therapists earn a median wage of $73,000 to $87,000. 
The Respiratory Care program at BCC is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).? For more information, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/respiratory-care

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Berkshire Humane Waives Dog Adoption Fees Through Sunday

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Humane Society has waived adoption fees of dogs who are at least one year old from Monday through Sunday this week. 
The promotion, called "Mass-Saves," is the first event of a statewide coalition led by MSPCA-Angell. Other shelters in the coalition funded by Best Friends Animal Society include Worcester Animal Rescue League, Boston Animal Control, Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center and Dakin Humane Society. The shelters will work together to improve and save lives of animals.
"Shelters throughout the country are experiencing an influx of dogs who are not being adopted right away, taxing the capacity of shelters to care for them," said John Perreault, executive director of Berkshire Humane Society. "We're no different. Due to the economy, we're receiving dogs with medical needs that need to be treated and dogs who need extra attention to address behavioral issues. 
"We have many good dogs in the shelter, but it takes resources and time to find them a home. That's why I'm excited to join this statewide team of organizations to address this issue."
"The issues facing animal welfare right now are daunting, to say the least," said 
Mike Keiley, vice president of animal protection at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell, said, "one of the most pervasive issues we're experiencing, and that's the dog population crisis." According to Keiley, a large and increasing number of homeless dogs need specialized help from behavior experts to adjust to shelter life long enough to find their adoptive homes.
"A lot of those dogs really struggle in shelters," Keily explained. "Given that recruiting qualified behavior personnel is just as hard as recruiting veterinary staff, most shelters aren't able to address this challenge alone, and, without that help, it may not be possible to rehome the animals." 
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