Brought to you by CVEP – Healthcare Industry Council

CVEP students touring the Live Well Clinic with Drs. Ortiz and Fung

In Homer’s classic “The Odyssey,” the mentor is the advisor to Odysseus who is entrusted with the care and education of Telemachus. Similarly, we as a community are being called to partner in new ways with educators in the care and education of our students.

Local hospitals, physicians and health care leaders are taking a proactive approach to assuring quality patient care for the future. Some of our top physicians have opened their doors to mentor the next generation of health workers….and in so doing they have experienced firsthand a skilled group of young people while helping to prepare these students for the highly technical future workplace.

Facing a shortage of college-educated health care workers, and understanding that an educated population is a key to economic vitality, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s Pathways to Success Programs support a regional structure that culls tomorrow’s health care workforce from today’s student populations. By linking students with health care professionals, the needs of the labor force are addressed. This mentoring increases the likelihood that local youth will successfully complete Pathways’ health care programs in high school and college, improving career prospects for our most disadvantaged students.. Work-based learning programs are a proven win-win for industry and individuals–successfully leading the way in which we need to address education in the new knowledge economy.

Pathways students are enrolling in one of the Desert’s five high school health academies. These programs are fully-funded by Palm Springs, Coachella Valley and Desert Sands Unified School Districts and have a collective capacity to prepare up to 1,000 students for college and health-related careers. The Palm Desert campuses of College of the Desert, California State University San Bernardino, and University of California Riverside, along with the valley’s private schools additionally provide excellent health sciences programs and help to address obstacles facing students pursuing college.

Comprising 8.2% of the Coachella Valley workforce, the health care industry employs more than 11,200 workers at an average wage of $54,408. According to a 2009 study supported by the Desert Health Care District, 2,000 new health care workers will need to be trained by 2016 to meet population demands.

Coachella Valley health care employers provide support for students preparing for health-related careers through internships, career exploration field trips, job shadowing, and mentoring, allowing students valuable insights on what it takes to succeed in health care. Linkages through CVEP’s Health Industry Council provide a sustainable platform for these vital work-based learning programs.

CVEP’s Healthcare Industry Council was launched under a grant from the James Irvine Foundation in 2004 and has been sustained for the past three years by the Desert Healthcare District. The three local school districts fully fund their middle and high school outreach, health career academies, career explorations programs, and professional development for teachers. C.O.D., C.S.U.S.B. and U.C.R. and local private universities are active partners in building the educational pipeline with undergraduate and graduate-level health science programs, providing funding for professional development for faculty, and partnering on the Pathways to Success scholarship program.

Learn more about how you can partner with the future by contacting Donna Sturgeon, CVEP Healthcare Industry Council Work-Based Learning Coordinator–[email protected]

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