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October 2011

From High School to Health Professions

Connecting High School Students with Jobs in Health
A high school student helps one of the residents at the Jewish Home & Hospital for Aged.

New York City’s public schools have struggled with low test scores and graduation rates for decades. But in 2010, the graduation rate reached an all time high of 65 percent, a 15 point increase since 2005. This improvement can partly be attributed to high school programs such as the Geriatric Career Development Program which exposes students to potential careers in health.

Ninety-four percent of the seniors in the program graduated. With advancements in technology and medicine, New Yorkers are living longer, and as a result there is a greater need for caretakers and organizations such as Jewish Home Life Care, which cares for elders of all racial and religious backgrounds.

With a grant of $52,000 from The Trust in 2009, the Geriatric Career Development Program at Jewish Home Life Care has been prepping disadvantaged students in three Bronx High Schools for possible careers in health care. Juniors participate in semester-long internships, get staff mentors, and attend seminars on the special needs of the elderly. Students in their second year of the program work towards becoming certified emergency medical technicians, pharmacy assistants, or phlebotomists. In addition, students attended PSAT and SAT prep classes and trips to local colleges. In 2010, all matriculated students in the program were accepted into colleges, with many intending to pursue a major in health.

This program helped students find a career path and helped the elderly, and funders took notice: the program has received a multi-year State grant and support from other foundations.

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