“There are nearly 30,000 high school students enrolled in health services across the state of South Carolina,” says Angel Clark, Education Associate with the S.C. Department of Education.
When looking at the future of the healthcare field this number becomes important. Not only has healthcare been chosen as one of the leading sectors through the State Workforce Development Board’s S.C. Talent Pipeline initiative, but it is also has a strong presence among leading occupations in most regions.
Palmetto Health is leading innovative efforts to prepare for a skilled workforce. By working with schools, K-12 and secondary education, they are able to help them develop curriculums and offer a wide variety of programs with a range of experiences for all levels to expose students to necessary skillsets.
Pressley Denado Dickson, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Midlands Technical College (MTC), says that MTC has a strong partnership with Palmetto Health. The nursing program is one of their most popular degree tracks and Palmetto Health helps design their curriculum so the candidates have the required skills when they are ready to enter the workforce. This partnership is a win-win for both parties; the students learn the specific skillsets they need with real time applications, and the hospital system has access to a qualified pool of candidates.
Palmetto Health invests in high schoolers as well. Karen Edwards, Health Science and Sports Medicine Teacher at Spring Hill High School, says that filling the classes with eager participants has never been an issue. Having Palmetto Health involved in the educational process early on allows students to test-drive the field to determine whether it is the field they want to pursue, and it provides them hands-on experiences. In fact, starting their junior year, students can begin coursework. The following year they complete 90 clinical hours and their internship requirements.
Valerie Richardson, Workforce, Organization and Talent Development Manager at Palmetto Health and member of the State Workforce Development Board, says “We provide clinical rotations for high school seniors who are enrolled in the Health Sciences Clinical Studies course. After the rotation, high school seniors are able to challenge the exam and obtain the Certified Nurse Assistant credential. This credential could be the beginning of a health science career and at the end of the day, education is all about our students becoming contributing members of society and building the talent pipeline of our future.”