by Terry Rogers
According to Patricia Ayers, Health Sciences instructor at Milford Central Academy, the United States will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 in order to adequately take care of an aging population based on research conducted by Mercer’s US Healthcare Analysis Report. A few years ago, Milford School District implemented an Allied Health and Public and Community Health major at Milford High School in an effort to begin meeting these demands in the workforce. Starting with the 2018-19 school year, the program has expanded with a Health Sciences program offered at Milford Central Academy.
“The program at the Milford Central Academy is the middle school version of the high school program,” Jason Peel, Director of Human Resources and School Climate, said. “The program is broader in scope and exploratory in nature, aimed at getting middle school students interested and ready for the high school program. The program prepares them to understand and explore possibilities in the health career field. Like our other exploratory in Agriscience and technology, it is to get our students truly thinking about their futures and what the Milford community has to offer. MCA is one of only three middle school Health Science programs in the state.”
Milford Central Academy partnered with the high school programs as well as the Delaware Department of Education to develop the program. The goal is to nurture and develop relationships with local healthcare facilities to offer field trips and guest speakers who will provide students with introductory knowledge into various careers available in healthcare. The program hopes to encourage students with an interest in healthcare to explore careers as nurses, doctors, radiologists, medical technologists, patient care technicians, medical assistants and many other healthcare-related fields. As a middle school program, students are not provided internships or work-study, but instead are prepared to enter the high school Allied Health major. Students who succeed in the major may participate in internships as juniors and seniors in local healthcare settings.
“We decided to expand to offer more opportunity for our middle school students to explore career areas,” Peel explained. “We also wanted to support the two high school health programs by giving students experience and knowledge in the coursework at an earlier age. In addition, the expansion mirrors the expansion of health-related fields in our state and local communities. If all goes well and the program is successful, we would like to expand partnerships with community healthcare agencies and MCA. The greater Milford community has an abundance of exemplary healthcare agencies. We look forward to future partnerships and interaction with these agencies to enhance the experience for our students.”
College credits are not included as part of the MCA program as it is only offered through 8th grade, but Ayers says they are working on a babysitting certification component to give students marketable skills. In addition, students may be introduced to CPR and first aid practices that could benefit them outside the classroom.
“I believe this is perfect timing for the addition of Health Science middle school curriculum,” Ayers said. “Education is our passport to the future and we want our future to be here at Milford Central Academy. I am excited to be part of this wonderful school and start this new program to benefit our students.”
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