New Healthcare Job Training Partnership Could Expand Healthcare in Rural Communities

GENEVA, Ala. (WDHN)—Rural communities face certain health disparities, but local students might be the answer to bridging those divides.

A new partnership announced today between Wiregrass Medical Center in Geneva, Enterprise State Community College, and the Geneva Regional Career Technical Center (GTECH) will provide hands-on training for dual-enrolled high school students and college students.

“We are really excited about partnering with Enterprise State Community College,” says Tammy McDaniels, Wiregrass Medical Center Quality Director.”We are excited about getting nursing students in here.”

The job-readiness program comes as a result of a $1.2 million grant from the Alabama Centers for Rural Healthcare Opportunity Grant Program. It comes following college system and legislative support.

That money will go toward renovating hospital spaces, and securing training supplies, paying staff, and building the program, which will start in the fall.

The funding and partnership come at a time, when, officials say, rural communities continue to be plagued by certain health disparities.

These include hospital closures, less providers, and less general healthcare options. It also comes as Geneva County looks for healthcare workers.

“While the challenges associated with providing rural healthcare are undeniable, at Enterprise State Community College, we believe that there are opportunities associated with those challenges,” says Dr. Anna Head, ESCC Dean of Instruction.

But with this new program, officials hope not only to bridge health disparities, but also to keep students in Geneva and the Wiregrass.

They also hope to unlock students’ potential.

Geneva County Schools Assistant Superintendent Ralph Riley says, “This program that is coming about us, it is going to give our students the opportunity to get real-life training and be marketable and the opportunity to stay in Geneva County, to not have to look for jobs outside of Geneva County.”

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