The new Hillsborough Community College Campus SouthShore has residents of the Ruskin area excited, but something they may not know is cause for even more enthusiasm. HCC SouthShore is one of the only campuses to offer bachelors and masters programs through partnering universities. The two universities that will be providing on-campus classrooms for their programs are St. Leo University which will be offering bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration and Webster University which will be offering Master of Arts degrees in Counseling. Both universities plan on expanding the degrees that are offered in the future.Both programs give the opportunity for those of all ages and of all economic backgrounds to further their education. Allen Witt, dean of Academic Affairs, explained the simplicity that Lennard High School graduates would have in getting their degrees, as he said, “By simply walking across the street, you could get your AA, BA and masters, all in Ruskin.”The bachelors and masters programs are not the only ways HCC SouthShore is trying to build a bridge with Lennard High School and the SouthShore community in general. Lennard and HCC SouthShore are working towards getting a nursing program started between the two schools. Students at Lennard would be able to become licensed practical nurses before they graduated, then attend HCC SouthShore, taking the registered nurses program which opens January 2010. The LPN program is still in the process of being approved. Dr. Cossette Whitmore, a supervisor with Hillsborough County Public Schools, is heading the project and explained, “We go for approval August 14. If we are approved, we are prepared to start the program the following week. If not, we have an alternative of beginning classes that we do not need approval for.” With this program, students would be given a chance to become RNs in a matter of a couple years through Lennard High School and HCC SouthShore. The SouthShore campus is really looking towards becoming a health science campus to help provide a well-educated staff for the hospitals in the area. For now, it offers courses for Emergency Medical Technology and the Certified Nursing Assistant program, which prepare students for jobs in the healthcare field. The campus hopes to offer more medical related courses in the future, including the RN program mentioned earlier, and potentially, medical billing and coding. The new campus is hoping to be the staple of the community it chose as its home, reaching out to the high school, the leaders of the community and everyone in between. For more information, visit www.hccfl.edu/southshore, email email@example.com or call 259-6100.Photo Caption: Dean of Academic Affairs Allen Witt announces the addition of programs at Hillsborough County College Campus SouthShore.