A generous gift from the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is putting five Northwest Technical College (NTC) dental assisting students on the path to success this year.
The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Scholarship was created in January 2022 to provide scholarships specifically for black, indigenous and students of color enrolled in NTC’s dental assisting program. This past July, five students who met scholarship requirements were awarded $6,500 each towards completion of their degrees, split between tuition and what Ashley Johnson, executive director of the Northwest Technical College Foundation, calls “student success dollars” — non-tuition financial support to help offset expenses such as the cost of uniforms, travel expenses to and from campus, and educational materials.
“We are thrilled to be able to support these five students in their pursuit of their career goals,” Johnson said. “The Northwest Technical College Foundation board is thankful that the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is supporting diversity in rural Minnesota.”
“We are pleased to partner with The Northwest Technical College Foundation to support student success and help advance oral health equity in the region”, said Joe Lally, executive director of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.
The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation was created in 2009 to “expand access to dental care for Minnesota’s underserved populations by primarily investing in programs and organizations that provide dental care to people in need.” It is affiliated with Delta Dental of Minnesota, one of the Upper Midwest’s largest dental benefits providers. Delta Dental of Minnesota’s Operations and Technology Center is also located in Bemidji and employs over 150 employees from the area.
NTC plans to use the gift as a power for good by soliciting $10,000 in matching funds from Bemidji-area dental clinics to establish an endowment that will provide scholarships for future NTC dental assisting students in perpetuity.
“The goal is to diversify the field of dentistry and match the workforce population to the patient population,” Johnson said. “The NTC Foundation Board is proud to support these first five scholarship recipients who are leading the way for tomorrow’s youth.”
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation supports Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the health of Minnesotans through oral health. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation works to expand access to dental care for Minnesota’s underserved populations across the state by primarily investing in dental care for people in need.
About NTC’s Dental Assisting Program
Dental assisting students gain technical knowledge and manual skills necessary to enter the dental profession as a chair-side clinician, assisting with a variety of clinical functions, laboratory tasks and business office responsibilities. Classroom and hands-on training will prepare students to perform procedures such as exposing radiographs, placing pit and fissure sealants, taking impressions and managing patient records. In addition, labs, internships and service learning activities offer students real-life experiences and interactions with patients and dental health care professionals. Dental assisting offers a 100% job placement rate as there is currently a shortage of dental assistants in every region of Minnesota.