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Healthcare Academy in High Schools

Nationwide healthcare staffing shortages coupled with an uneven distribution of workers hits rural areas especially hard, leading many of those hospitals to look toward new approaches to recruitment, retention and workforce supply.

The Goal:
Colleton Medical Center is the only hospital in Colleton County, and has had some difficulty maintaining an adequate workforce. Working with community and educational partners, their goal is to increase homegrown recruitment of a healthcare workforce within the county.

Method & Implementation:
Thanks to fruitful collaborations, there is now a healthcare career-oriented track at Colleton County High School and a vibrant nursing program at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie that have partnered with the hospital to provide real-world experience to students while creating a natural conduit for the medical center’s workforce needs.

At Colleton County High School, their recently-implemented Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy uses a progressive learning model where learners use technology to complete group projects as they would in a professional work environment within a specific healthcare-oriented track. This helps guide students in Colleton County toward the healthcare field and gives them both the academic fundamentals and real-world awareness of careers that would be available to them at Colleton Medical Center.

Challenges & Barriers:
Communicating and coordinating with community partners
Funding new programs
Changing the culture of the community toward careers in healthcare

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