Ron Carlson, Paul R. Willging Endowment
"When I participated in the 2015 HCC commencement it was encouraging to realize that many of the graduates either had jobs or had set their career paths,” shares Ron Carlson, past president for the Institute for Community Health Improvement. Carlson and distinguished executives from the professional community formed an endowment, supported by an annual fundraiser and speaker series, to further the legacy of their friend and colleague, Paul R. Willging’s, lifelong commitment to supporting the workforce that cares for of older adults.
“Paul was dedicated to assuring that our health care delivery system would adapt to meet the future changing needs. We got to know each other as we both advocated for stronger workforce training at the local and federal level,” said Carlson, reflecting on Paul R. Willging’s legacy. After Willging passed away in 2011, Carlson and others set up an endowment with the mission of providing scholarship support for students interested in pursuing careers in gerontology and the delivery of health care for older adults. To assure the program's success, the endowment launched an annual lecture series fundraiser, focusing on topics related to health care for seniors.
Thanks to registration fees from the speaker series, personal gifts from Carlson and the executive committee, and contributions from local healthcare organizations, Carlson estimates that the endowment will reach $100,000 by the end of 2016.
“There is a greater demand for workers than the funnel of graduates right now,” said Carlson, “We want to plant the seeds early so that students are coming out of their two-year program with a job. And the community college is the means to do that. As the endowment grows, we will be able to broaden our mission and strengthen our capacity to do this important work."