St. Vincent’s College and Bridgeport Public Schools Launch Healthcare Career and College Readiness Pilot Program

August 25, 2016

20 students will graduate with a high school diploma, a healthcare career certificate, and college credits enabling immediate opportunity for employment

Parents and legal guardians of current Bridgeport students plus Bridgeport Public School employees now offered 20% tuition discount at St. Vincent’s College

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut – St. Vincent’s College and the Bridgeport Public School District will be kicking off a new Healthcare Career and College Readiness Pilot Program this Fall at Bassick High School. Twenty students will be chosen to take courses at St. Vincent’s College and graduate with a high school diploma, a healthcare certificate, and college degree credits. To further support the community, St. Vincent’s College also is offering a twenty percent tuition discount to all Bridgeport Public School employees and parents of students attending a school in the school district. The first class of students is expected to complete the program in 2018.

“We see this as an extension of our Mission to serve our community,” explained Michael Gargano, president, St. Vincent’s College. “This program identifies students who show promise and hope; it provides support, both financial and tutorial, for them to begin a rewarding career in healthcare.”

Bassick High School’s new principal, Tomas Ramirez, Ph.D., will appoint a three-member selection committee to choose the 20 students for the pilot program. Starting in the 9th grade and continuing through senior year of high school, students will take classroom courses, engage in hands-on practical learning and skill building experiences, and begin transition to the world of work. Students will be able to choose from several career pathways including the Certified Nurse Aide Certificate Program, Patient Care Technician Certificate Program, Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program, and Community Health Aide Program. After completion of these programs, students are eligible for immediate employment or to continue their college education.

“This is the first time the Bridgeport Public School District has formed a partnership with St. Vincent’s College,” said Fran Rabinowitz, superintendent, Bridgeport Public Schools. “This is a profound opportunity to help students fulfill developmental coursework while earning college credits toward a healthcare degree or certificate.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17, employment of nursing assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As baby-boomers age and the number of elderly continues to increase, demand for the services of nursing assistants, including home health aides and community care coordinators to provide assistance will continue to increase. Due to increased demand for prescription medications and more demand for pharmaceutical services, employment for pharmacy technicians is projected to grow nine percent from 2014 to 2024. The median annual wage for nursing assistants and pharmacy technicians was $25,710 – $30,410 in May 2015.

Courses during freshman and sophomore years will provide fundamental skills such as computer basics, word processing, medical terminology, and familiarization with illness and diseases. As juniors, students may choose a career pathway, such as certified nurse assistant or pharmacy technician. Coursework in the junior and senior years includes informatics and electronic health records as well as sociology and psychology. Students also will benefit from workshops including practice interviews, financial literacy, and essay and resume writing, and will have access to tutoring and peer mentoring.

This program is being funded entirely by St. Vincent’s College scholarships and grants. All program material costs will be covered, as well.

“I am committed to taking a fresh approach to education and student engagement,” stated Ramirez. “It’s a new day and we are doing things differently from here on out.”

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