March 30, 2015
Ohio’s youth often find their future and career paths intimidating. They may not know all of the options available to them or where to look to find opportunities. In some rural or urban areas, youth may not think there are any opportunities and they move away, decreasing the valuable human capital in some areas.
To help introduce youth to health care career opportunities and balance the workforce distribution, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio has invested in organizations that provide education and funding to Ohio youth who are interested in continuing their education in health disciplines.
Two such projects are Health Professions Affinity Communities (HPAC) and Building Bridges to Careers. HealthPath is currently funding three universities to establish HPACs in our service area: Northeast Ohio Medical University (featured below), the University of Cincinnati, and Youngstown State University.
Programs like HPAC and Building Bridges to Careers strive to find the next generation of professionals who want to better serve their communities and become role models, helping HealthPath further its goal of improving workforce development.
Health Professions Affinity Communities
Northeast Ohio Medical University’s (NEOMED) HPAC is a program designed to support and guide high school students who have an interest in a career in the health profession. The program offers a variety of academic and community-based experiences with the goal to empower students to take charge of their future and their academic and career development, and to make a difference in the health of their communities in Northeast Ohio. NEOMED is using the HealthPath funding to establish HPACs at Marietta Senior High School in Washington County and Shenandoah High School in Monroe County.
Established in 2011, the NEOMED HPAC program brings student’s ideas to life operating in five stages utilizing the “IDEAS” concept.
Identify a problem
Develop a plan
Enact a program
Assess the program
Share the program’s outcome
Since its inception, more than 2,000 Ohio students have participated in NEOMED HPAC’s five-step program. Additionally, each program is enacted in the local communities and schools and is shared online and in person. NEOMED estimates that more than 10,000 people in Ohio have been impacted by its HPAC.
Building Bridges to Careers
In addition to working with NEOMED HPAC program, Marietta City Schools in Washington County developed its Building Bridges to Careers program to bridge the gap between education and employment. Now in its third year, the program connects high school classrooms with local businesses and community organizations to help students navigate future career opportunities, especially those that exist locally. Building Bridges to Careers has several programs that introduce careers to students, including the Career Pathway Stories project, Family Career Awareness Day, Problem Scenarios, job shadowing, and social events for professionals and students. HealthPath funded the program’s Career Pathway Stories project. This video series includes interviews with employees at various community organizations. The employees tell the story of their journey on their own career path, including their challenges and successes and how hard they worked to get to that point.
Building Bridges to Careers also has a Family Career Awareness Day, which brings together students, parents, teachers, and businesses to learn about specific career paths and encourage families to investigate opportunities together. Teachers at Marietta City Schools also work directly with local businesses to create curriculum-related solutions to business problems through the Problem Scenarios project. Business leaders provide a real-world example of a problem they have and students work with their teachers to create solutions to fix the issues. This provides students with a direct connection to their community and real-world career situations.