Michelle Hood, the Dean of The Howard E. Ivester Early College, said she and her team had a vision for a program of choice for healthcare students even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, but once that happened, they knew implementing their vision was even more important.
Hood shared the goals for the Ivester Healthcare Scholars Program of Choice this past week with members of the Hall County School Board.
"We had a vision that we needed a program of choice for these students that are academically ready - they want that rigor - but we need to help them see their path through this healthcare [program] and this came before the pandemic hit," Hood said. "So now it's even more evident how much we need to help those students with their paths."
Hood said it's vital to give juniors and seniors who see healthcare as a career more specialized direction.
"We want to guide them in a very personalized journey within our community," Hood said. "I think that's very important that they are finding out what is here in our community and what supports that they have because I think later it's important to help them make that decision to come back to our community."
Hood said the students will have the chance to broaden their opportunities across the profession so they can determine which aspect of healthcare best suits them. They will be able to participate in mentorships and internships and in some cases be able to participate in research. Brenau University, the University of North Georgia and Lanier Technical College will all be partners in the new program of choice, offering academic courses for Early College students.
Hood said there's one component of the program that is most exciting to her.
"They will also have a mentor in [their] professional field to carry through their two years," Hood said.
The board members unanimously approved the program, which becomes the 37th program of choice for the Hall County School District. Applications are being taken now.