Students, faculty, and ultimately those in need of dental care in Kansas will all benefit from a generous donation to Salina Area Technical College. Officials gathered at the school in Salina Tuesday afternoon to celebrate an $84,137.45 grant from the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation.
The grant will allow the college to nearly double its dental asistant program, expanding from 18 students to 32 students. A new faculty member will also be hired as part of the expansion.
The funding from Delta allowed the school to purchase new equipment, including among other things dental chairs, computers, and software.
The dental program at the school was established back in 1976. Program Administrator Susan Shelite told KSAL News that there is a 95 percent placement rate for those who graduate, and about 85 percent of the graduates stay in Kansas. The average starting salary is $12 – $16 an hour. One graduate credits the program with the $60,000 a year salary she is currently making.
Shelite added that the school is “so blessed” to get the grant money because “we are not only teaching students to be dental assistants, but to also help others”.
The full expansion of the program will begin in August of 2015.
The Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation has given away $7 million in the last 10 years.