Adding bachelor's programs to SFSC is a great thing for Highlands County

It's exciting watching South Florida State College grow the number of its bachelor degree programs. Now two more are being added to an existing program. Excuse us for being impatient for even more offerings for local students but we can't help it.

SFSC gained approval last week from the State Board of Education to add bachelor of science degrees for elementary education and nursing. The two programs no go before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but that's mostly a formality. The college's first four-year degree in supervision and management has been a success and has about 80 students entered into the program this year.

College leadership has been outstanding pursuing these new programs and we look forward to more coming on line in the coming years. It offers so much to an already quality institution and serves people right here in so many ways.

SFSC programs are needed in the Heartland. As it stands, students in this region have to drive nearly an hour - at least - to attend a state institution. Most universities are two to four hours away - or more. This provides a more affordable way to provide necessary education to local students, and even bring students from elsewhere to our region.

It's gotten to the point where quality jobs anywhere require bachelor's degrees. Sure, other programs already in place fill a lot of the needs here, but these added offerings give us even more.

The need will continue to increase in the coming years and we have faith that the college will add programs as they can. It's no easy task. The good news is that with every program added our entire region is enriched in many ways.

Our workforce can be better trained and prepared for growth, which in turn makes our area more attractive to potential companies looking to relocate. It also enriches our area culturally and improves our quality of life.

SFSC has always enriched the cultural and educational lives of our area and that will continue to increase. That's exciting stuff no matter how you look at it.