St. Vincent’s College and the Bridgeport Public School District kicked off a new Healthcare Career and College Readiness Pilot Program this Fall at Bassick High School. Twenty students were 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., appointed 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.”
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.”