Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis:
Holiday spending up
WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. They compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years.
“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow, and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric. Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season. However, confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”
HCC is No. 1
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Hagerstown Community College has the No. 1 licensed practical nurse program in Maryland, according to practicalnursing.org.
At HCC, LPN students are trained to work in a variety of settings, such as home health agencies, doctor’s offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The curriculum includes a balance of general nursing studies and nursing skills with clinical and laboratory practices. After completing the 16-month program, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.
Enrollment up at Wilson
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Wilson College continues to buck the higher education trend of declining enrollments.
A total of 1,620 students are enrolled for the fall semester, an 8% increase over fall 2018 and another record for the 150-year-old college.
The greatest growth came in the college’s teacher certification programs, where enrollment is up 39% over last year. Officials attribute the increase to Wilson’s expansion of all certification programs to include an online format, as well as a traditional classroom format, and to a shortage of qualified teachers in Pennsylvania.
Enrollment in Wilson’s 10 graduate programs also increased by double digits, with 546 students enrolled this year compared to 455 last fall, a 20% increase.
Mount St. Mary’s partners with FDA
EMMITSBURG, Md. — Mount St. Mary’s University is the first four-year university to enter into a partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Information Management and Technology, based in Silver Spring, Md.
Under the formal memorandum of understanding, the FDA will offer Mount students internship opportunities, jobs and informational sessions in cybersecurity and information technology. The partnership also allows the FDA to expand its cybersecurity and technological prowess with the assistance of the Mount’s students.