ACEC to give underrepresented High Schoool students a head start on Healthcare careers
Colorado employs nearly 200,000 people in the healthcare industry today according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and this number is expected to grow exponentially in the ensuing 5 to 10 years. In fact, there are 10,000 jobs currently available in Colorado for healthcare practitioners such as registered nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, dental hygienists, nursing assistants, medical assistants and the like who are earning an average salary of $58,000.
But how do students go about exploring the field of healthcare to see if the medical field is right for them? ACEC is exploring relationships with a number of medical facilities and educational resources related to healthcare professions to give students more opportunities in these areas.
Discussions have taken place with leading research facilities such as Fitzsimmons Bioscience Park, major hospital systems such as St. Anthony’s North as well as higher education institutions such as Front Range Community College and Everest College, which is now a nonprofit college fostering health science careers for students. We have also connected with Project SEARCH, a program at Children’s Hospital Colorado to provide real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills that helps youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life.
ACEC’s newest health care affiliation is with Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health’s Medical Career Collaborative program. Known as MC2, the two-year program provides professional development and hands-on learning opportunities for high school students throughout the metro Denver area.
MC2 focuses on recruiting students from groups that are underrepresented in healthcare. The program provides opportunities for high-achieving young people of color and from low-income backgrounds around the Denver metro area. Students work 10 hours a week during 12-week fall and spring sessions and 30 hours a week during a 6-week summer program.
ACEC’s role is to introduce the program to Adams County school districts and help facilitate school relationships and student applications. Current high school sophomores can apply, with those accepted entering the program at the start of their junior year. Applications will be available beginning January 17, 2017, and can be found online for approximately two months after that date. The application process involves printing the form, completing it, and mailing it in.
For those students advancing to the interview round, interviews are held in late April or early May. Final decisions are made by late May.
MC2 graduates have found employment in a wide range of healthcare and bioscience careers, including:
- Public health
- Medical interpreting
- Laboratory sciences
- Biomedical research
The Many Benefits of MC2
The MC2 program prepares students to pursue a career in healthcare or bioscience in a number of ways, from education to hands-on experiences to mentoring. This includes:
- Field trips: MC2 students participate in fields trips each month to gain exposure to healthcare.
- Internships: MC2 students are eligible for paid internships at Children’s Hospital Colorado or Denver Health. After being assigned to a hospital, students are scheduled for an internship session in the fall, spring, or summer. During their internship, MC2 participants are placed in one department at their assigned hospital where they work alongside and interact with hospital team members.
- Service learning/volunteering: MC2 students give back to the local community by engaging in service learning opportunities.
- Personal and professional development activities: The program helps participants build their personal and professional skills through seminars, workshops, and trainings.
- Post-secondary coaching: Seniors in the MC2 program receive post-secondary coaching related to their educational and career goals, scholarship applications, and college applications. They also receive guidance on gathering letters of recommendation and writing essays.
- Ongoing assistance for MC2 alumni: Graduates of the MC2 program remain connected to the MC2 network and can participate in additional programs related to career goals.
The Children’s Hospital MC2 program is one example of ACEC’s commitment to building pathways in the health care field. We anticipate more announcements of programs like this in the near future, so stay tuned. For more information on ACEC’s other career exploration and pathway programs, please visit www.adamscountyeducation.org.