Blue Cross NC announced Friday, March 22 that Wilkes Community College was one of five colleges in the state to share in the $1 million awarded to the NC Community College System to combat the opioid epidemic. The money will help fund associate degree programs in emergency medical science in the five community colleges across the state.

According to their press release, Dr. Patrick Conway, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC, stated, “We want to ensure access to quality emergency medical care for all North Carolinians, and that starts with educating the next generation of first responders.”

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president stated,” While part of the criteria for receiving the award is being located in an area heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic, I think this grant is also another great example of how creating a strong strategic plan and working diligently to execute that plan to benefit our students and community can bring folks to the table who want to support our efforts financially. We continue to build momentum, and this $200,000 is going to be a real shot in the arm as we seek to take our EMS program to the next level here at WCC!”