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Health Science Academy in Greeley Set to Expand

High school students in Greeley planning on becoming nurses, doctors and medical technicians will soon have more training opportunities thanks to a new partnership. North Colorado Medical Center and Banner Health have each pledged $150,000 to fund a $300,000 expansion of a healthcare education program at Greeley Central High School.

The program currently serves 22 students in the 11th and 12th grades.

“But with the partnership of Banner and NCMC, we’re going to be able to expand the program beginning in August of this year to a full grade 9 – 12 program serving about 200 students,” says Roger Fiedler, Director of Communications for Weld County School District 6.

He says enrolled students will have access to classes in medical terminology, health sciences and human anatomy. Construction of new, state-of-the-art lab facilities at Greeley Central High is planned for early this summer.

Gene Haffner, Public Relations director for NCMC, says the country’s aging population will increase the demand for health professionals in the future.

“Certainly the jobs should not decrease,” he notes. “And we are projecting, along with many experts across the country, that the number of jobs and types of jobs will increase and obviously we need a trained and qualified workforce to be able to fill those jobs.”

The program will offer new opportunities for collaboration with Aims community college and the University of Northern Colorado, and could also lead to internships and job shadowing with local health care professionals.

Haffner says the impact of this type of program reaches beyond the students themselves.

“I certainly think this option would be an attractive option for people who are moving to the community with families, to have this as an expanded option within the school district to take a look at for their children who will be attending schools. I think the cooperation and collaboration is a primary statement to the community about commitment to education and commitment to having programs that will serve people into the future.”

The program is a way to give students a head start in exploring their futures, says Fiedler.

“Helping them see the pathway through their high school coursework to what they’ll need for their future careers – even if that means going to a 2-year or 4-year college after high school graduation. We want our students to be thinking about and be prepared for what it’s going to take to get those jobs that they’re seeking.”

The Banner/NCMC Health Science Academy is set to open in August at Greeley Central High School.  It will operate as a magnet program – open to students from Greeley and Evans, as well as nearby communities.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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