Erlanger To Partner In Health Care Program With Hamilton County Schools

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The demand for health care occupations will grow 19 percent in the U.S. thru 2024, much faster than the average of all occupations in the country. That means 2.3 million new healthcare jobs and with 33 percent of employment in Chattanooga in the healthcare field that will mean good jobs for graduates of Hamilton County Schools. Future Ready Institutes designed to help prepare graduates for success in growing career fields of the future are coming to high schools in Hamilton County Schools in the fall.


To prepare graduates to fill available healthcare jobs in the area, Erlanger Health System has signed-on with the Future Ready Institutes to offer the Erlanger Institute for Healthcare and Innovation at The Howard School beginning in August. Like all Future Ready Institutes, the program will be open to all students in Hamilton County Schools. The Erlanger Institute will offer programs in Diagnostic Services and Therapeutic Nursing Services and will begin with rising ninth-graders.


Erlanger is the seventh largest public hospital in the United States with more than 7,000 full-time employees in the Chattanooga region. The Erlanger Health System includes five hospitals based in Chattanooga. Erlanger Chief Nursing Executive Jan Keys and hospital educators are looking forward to this innovative training opportunity for students at The Howard High School. 


“This program is a win-win for both of us," Dr,. Keys said. “It enables us to touch and train future members of our workforce by introducing them to a wide variety of healthcare career opportunities.”  As the region’s only academic teaching facility, Dr. Keys noted that Erlanger had committed a full-time employee to oversee this Future Ready program, which will include training in the hospital’s simulation lab and job shadowing. “Through extensive education and training, we can expose these students to a variety of healthcare career paths, from medical lab technicians and coders to certified nurse assistants and phlebotomists - well before they graduate from high school.”


Officials said the Diagnostic Services pathway will prepare students for careers in radiology, medical laboratory, optometry, sonography and other patient diagnostic procedures.  Medical lab technician jobs will grow 33 percent thru 2024 and add 2,200 new positions in Tennessee.  Medical and clinical lab technologists will grow by 17.4 percent with 5,270 new positions.  The median salary for these positions ranges from $39K to $61K.  Graduates completing the program will exit having earned early post-secondary college experience, and the possibility of industry-recognized credentials.  


The Therapeutic Nursing Services pathway will offer graduates the potential to gain entry-level employment in the medical profession as patient care technicians, nursing assistants, and certified clinical medical assistants.  Successful graduates may also elect to pursue more training and will enter post-secondary institutions with early college experience and the opportunity to earn the industry-recognized CCMA credential.  The projected growth for Medical assistant jobs is 33 percent, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (LPN/LVN) by 28 percent thru 2024.  The median salary for these careers ranges from $32K to $68K.


Erlanger has been a teaching hospital since 1915 and serves as the region’s only academic teaching hospital.  In 1974, the program affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine - Chattanooga Campus.  The Erlanger Institute for Healthcare and Innovation at The Howard School will expose participants to higher-level medical courses, college preparedness courses, leadership development opportunities, professional seminars and clinical internships.  Participants will have the opportunity to apply for paid summer work experience between junior and senior year and work-based learning experiences with Erlanger during the senior year. Graduates completing the program will have a competitive advantage entering healthcare careers and higher education programs.  


“It is vital that graduates of Hamilton County Schools are post-secondary ready and prepared to succeed in college or a career,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “The Future Ready Institutes, through partnerships with community leaders like Erlanger Health System, are the dawning of a new day filled with opportunity and possibilities for our graduates and their families.”


A news conference scheduled for Thursday, March 15, at 10 a.m. at The Howard School will reveal all of the Future Ready Institutes planned for the fall and the schools that will host each career program.  Major community partners working with Hamilton County Schools in the implementation of Future Ready Institutes and local political leaders will participate in the announcement that will significantly impact the college and career readiness of future graduates.

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