Recession or no recession, one occupation for which there are more job openings right now than there are applicants is nursing. And this situation is likely to continue.
For increasing numbers of Baltimore residents, this makes earning a nursing degree a desirable goal. And one place to earn this degree is the New Community College of Baltimore, which offers nurses' training at its Liberty Heights campus.
The CCB nursing program will celebrate its 25th anniversary May 16 at Martins West, 6817 Dogwood Road, beginning at 6 p.m. For information, call 396-0593.
The nursing program does more than just offer its students training in the knowledge and skills necessary to qualify as nurses.
It also tailors this training to deal with the particular problems of its predominantly urban student body.
"Most of our students are either working at jobs, or raising families, or both," said Gertrude T. Hodges, coordinator of the program. "For them to be able take advantage of our training, we have to fit it to their needs.
"We do that by counseling and by being flexible. We provide counseling services both before they enroll and all along the way. If they lack the pre-requisite general education credits, we steer them to the right places to get them. Then after they become students, we are flexible in how we make demands on their time.
"Although a full time student can complete the program in two years, most of our students can only study part-time, and so they take up to four years. We're equipped to deal with that. It's normal for our students, with the kinds of economic situations they're in."
Kim Nunnaly, 32, mother of a 7-year-old and a current student, is a beneficiary of this counseling service. Before enrolling at CCB, Ms. Nunnally had started and dropped out of two colleges. At CCB she has stayed and, thanks to the support she got there, is now about to graduate.
"I always wanted to be a nurse," she said. "But I was afraid of thmath. Well, without a nursing degree, the best I could do has been to work as an aide in a rehabilitation hospital. There's certainly no future in that. So I decided to try CCB.
"At CCB, they assigned me tutors, and with their help I've been handling it. It's not easy, but I've been doing it. I plan to graduate in June '91. I can tell you this about the program -- it's tough. I feel if I can get through there, I can be a nurse anywhere."
Ms. Hodges said that many poor and poorly educated people in Baltimore today regard nursing as the first step up to a better situation.
"The entrance level salary is $20,000 to $23,000 a year," she said. "If you've been on welfare, that looks pretty good."
AOne of the attractions of the field, she said, is that, unlike so many other areas of the economy, it is expanding.
"The health field right now is wide open," she said. "Look at the want ads in the Sunday paper -- pages of them. Once she has her RN, a nurse can go on to become specialized, like a nurse anesthetist, or a critical-care nurse. She may even go to become a doctor or a lawyer -- we've had that happen."
One of the CCB success stories is Sandee Kolodny, who, in her present post as coordinator of outreach services for the University of Maryland Hospital Cancer Center, has the mission of securing mammography screening for all women in Maryland.
Ms. Kolodny studied to become a nurse only after having tried other fields of work. Entering the work force after a divorce in the 1970s, she was employed first in an office, then in real estate and in public relations before enrolling in the CCB nursing program.
"Those other jobs bored me," she said. "I discovered I can only be happy in work where I'm helping people."
After graduation from CCB in 1982, she took a job with a private radiation laboratory where she received additional training. Then she worked at Children's and at Sinai Hospitals before landing at the University of Maryland Hospital.
Another of the CCB success stories is Richmond Manigault. In addition to holding a top job as a hospital administrator, he helped found and currently operates a consulting firm for the nursing profession.
In the early 1960s, before the existence of the CCB program, Mr. Manigault served as a combat medic in Vietnam. Back from the war in 1965, he first took a training course to become a licensed practical nurse, then he worked at that occupation while studying at CCB for his RN degree.
He has been director of nursing at the Baltimore city unit of Spring Grove Hospital, at the Walter P. Carter Center and at Crownsville State Hospital. For the past three years he has been superintendent at Crownsville.
In addition, he, his twin brother Louis Manigault -- also a CCB
nursing school graduate -- Harlin Gray and Melva Owens, operate the MG & O agency, which supplies nurses for institutions and home care. Richmond Manigault is also a candidate at Morgan State University for the degree of Doctor of Education, specializing in urban leadership. He also teaches at Sojourner Douglas College.