New program aims to promote healthcare career to high school students

Feb. 12—Local high school students with an interest in a healthcare career can get experience observing nurses, doctors and other hospital workers thanks to a new collaboration.

The Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education is working with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Department of Health and Development for the High School Healthcare Preceptorship, SOCHE announced in a press release. A preceptorship is similar to an internship, but the student isn't providing care to patients.

SOCHE is one of several organizations in Ohio picked to lead this program.

The healthcare partners include Premier Health, Mercy Health, and Genesis Health. The participating schools include Miami Valley Career Tech Center, Springfield City Schools, Muskingum Valley Educational Services Center, Hamilton County Educational Services Center, and Warren County Educational Services Center.

The chosen students will be juniors and seniors, said Cassie Barlow, president of SOCHE. The organization will work with respective schools to identify which students would be ready for this program. No specific GPA will be required, she said.

"SOCHE is extremely excited to partner with Ohio as they lean forward with innovative solutions for high school students across Ohio," Barlow said. "Our students need to have exposure to the many great occupational opportunities that are available."

According to the state of Ohio, some of those in-demand jobs include billing coding specialist, clinical medical assistant, patient care technician, phlebotomy technician, chemical dependency counselor assistant, certified dental assistant, certified pharmacy technician, state tested nurse aide, community health worker, and mental health technician.

Ohio has a large healthcare industry, with more than 400,000 people working in hospitals across the state, according to the Ohio Hospital Association, and hospitals indirectly support another 270,000 jobs in the state.

The workforce is expected to continue to grow in the next 10 years, so the state of Ohio plans to continue to work to encourage people into that sector.

SOCHE was picked for the program because the nonprofit already works with companies, K-12 districts, colleges and universities to match students with positions in businesses to build the next workforce generation.

SOCHE said many former interns in this program were offered full-time jobs and became leaders in their companies.