New program boosts next generation of workforce

KTAB 4U

News release from The Abilene Industrial Foundation:

Hendrick Auxiliary Grants Scholarships for Abilene ISD Students

Abilene, Texas – NEXTUniversity, a career development program of Abilene Industrial Foundation (AIF) partners with Abilene Independent School District (AISD) and Cisco College. Five scholarships funded by the Hendrick Medical Center (HMC) Auxiliary Board will be awarded to AISD students attending Holland Medical High School that complete the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program and wish to continue their education at Cisco to obtain a License in Vocational Nursing (LVN).

NEXTUniversity seeks to address the ever-growing challenge for a “middle-skilled” labor force in light of a low unemployment rate. The local unemployment rate averaged 3.2% for 2018 and even hit a low of 2.6% for Abilene in May 2019.

Middle-skilled healthcare professions, such as nursing, are expected to add almost 70,000 to their labor force by the year 2020 for the State of Texas alone. Regionally, healthcare professions expect to have the best job growth adding over 1,200 jobs over the next 5 years with an average annual salary of $48k/year.

Jamilah Spears serves as the program’s counselor with AISD. In this role, she works directly with high school students to enroll them in dual credit classes, so that they may earn college credit as they prepare for the workplace. Students also work to develop resume writing skills, participate in mock job interviews, attend local business site tours and more.

Each HMC Auxiliary Board scholarship aims to fund the complete cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies with a total award of $10,500 per student. Students will be expected to enroll in 3 classes for the 2019-2020 school year and will be required to take and score at least a 75 on the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) exam.

NEXTUniversity graduates will also have a guaranteed opportunity to interview with Hendrick Medical Center.

Susan Wade, Vice President Infrastructure & Support, Hendrick Medical Center states “The Hendrick Auxiliary is proud to partner with NEXTUniversity to provide opportunities for AISD students to pursue a career in nursing. Hendrick provides employment opportunities for LVNs in several departments and hopes that some of these graduates consider eventually becoming a licensed Registered Nurse. Texas is currently facing a shortage of Registered Nurses and that shortage is anticipated to be 59,970 by 2030 according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.”

Students interested in the scholarship must:

  • Have completed the CNA program at Holland Medical High School OR will complete the CNA program by the end of 2019-2020 school year
  • Be a senior that can take dual credit courses at Cisco College during the 2019-2020 school year
  • Complete an enrollment application to Cisco College
  • Complete an enrollment application to NEXTUniversity by contacting Jamilah Spears: jamilah.spears@abileneisd.org

An information meeting for parents and students is planned for Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 5:30 PM at Holland Medical High School.

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