‘This is the first time anyone has done this in our state’ | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 19, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: October 18, 2017 at 10:22 am
Diane Mathews, director of the Lowcountry Area Health Education Center, says that Colleton County High School’s Health Career Academy has taken AHEC into new territory.
Previously, AHEC conducted an after-school program for high school students interested in a career in the health industry.
As an after-school program, AHEC had between 20-30 students from all four grades participating.
Now, by partnering with the CCHS Health Career Academy, AHEC’s health career education program will work with the 90 freshmen participating in the first year of the academy. Now the classes that had been conducted after school are being held as part of the school day.
Mathews said that AHEC’s expanded role in introducing the students to the possible health care careers open to them is a pilot program.
“This is the first time anyone has done this in our state,” Mathews explains. “We are going to learn a ton.”
Jalacy Green, AHEC’s careers program coordinator, has a major role in the expanded high school program.
Green and Colleton County High School are a natural fit. Green was in the first graduating class at Colleton County High School. Mathews said that everyone at the high school knows Jalacy.
After graduating from high school, Green went to Coastal Carolina University where she obtained a bachelor of science degree in public health. A standout on the CCHS girls’ track and field team, Green continued her athletic career in college.
Returning to her hometown, Green volunteered at Colleton County Middle School, mentoring students about getting accepted to college.
AHEC has transformed one office at the Walterboro facility into a recording studio where Green is producing PowerPoint presentations, voice-over and other web-based information that the Health Careers Academy students will have access to from school or home. For this school year, AHEC is producing six educational modules for the students.
The students are expected to have successfully completed the work contained in the web-based module before the AHEC classroom session. The students have been divided into four classes of 20-25 for the AHEC classes.
One of the first AHEC classes leads the students through all the career possibilities in health care. Green said the five career clusters — Biotechnology Research and Development, Health Informatics, Theraputic Services, Support Services and Diagnostic Services — contain multiple career options for students to consider.
Mathews said both high school officials and AHEC “want them to be exposed to as many of these careers as possible.”
If the students have a specific healthcare career they are interested in, Mathews said, they will be directed to a South Carolina Commission on High Education website that contains “every curriculum that is offered in our state.” If they have a specific career in mind, they can find a South Carolina school that offers it, then go to the school’s website and learn about the school’s pre-requisites. “Ninth grade is not too early to start looking at what you need to be doing in high school,” Mathews said.
The goal is to “position students for a career in healthcare, get them positioned to enter into higher education,” Mathews said.