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Tupelo, Miss. – Northeast Mississippi high school juniors and seniors interested in the possibility of a career in healthcare will have the opportunity to learn and receive high school and college credit through an educational partnership announced in Tupelo today. The announcement was made jointly by Northeast Community College President Dr. Johnny Allen, North Mississippi Medical Center Career Counselor Rosalyn Campbell, CREATE Foundation President Mike Clayborne, and Toyota Mississippi Vice President Sean Suggs.

The class, funded by the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, will be conducted through a collaboration between Northeast Community College and North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) and will expose students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties to a wide range of jobs available in the healthcare industry. Sean Suggs, Toyota Mississippi Vice President of Administration, stated, “Healthcare is one of the most important sectors of the Northeast Mississippi and United States economies with many great job opportunities available. This course is for students who are interested in the Health Sciences field and possibly becoming a healthcare professional. Twenty students will learn about career options within Health Sciences, the educational requirements for these careers, the demand in the workplace, and average salaries. It provides a thorough review of the U.S. healthcare delivery system, managed care, healthcare financing, reimbursement, insurance coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, job safety, job skills, and the impact of new technology on healthcare services.” The classes will meet the provisions of the dual enrollment program specified by the Mississippi Department of Education.

The Toyota Education Endowment Fund is the $50 million gift Toyota announced at groundbreaking in 2007. Payable over a 10-year period, the goal of the education gift is to create a perpetual fund to enhance education in the eight school districts in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties, offering all students opportunities they may not have had. It is administered by the Toyota Wellspring Educational Fund Advisory Committee.

CREATE’s Clayborne said, “One of the primary focuses of the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund is to provide students with an understanding of the career options available to them and to help them understand the education and skills necessary for those careers. In partnership with Mississippi State University, we are now offering a course in web applications for students with that particular interest. This class is another way to expand the horizon of students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties.” Dr. Charles Garrett, Senior Consultant to the Toyota Education Endowment Fund Advisory Committee, added, “On average, college students change their majors three times over the course of their college career. We want to expose our students earlier to the opportunities that exist for them, in web app development, in healthcare, aviation and eventually other fields. We see this as a win for our students, their parents, and secondary education providers.”

The course is offered as a dual enrollment program established by the Mississippi Department of Education, with both high school and Northeast credit available to students. The course will be offered during the 2015 school calendar year and involves weekly online instruction and assignments along with five days of onsite instruction at the hospital each semester.

NMMS Counselor Campbell with North Mississippi Medical Center commented on the importance of the program, “Preparing for a career in healthcare is a journey ─ I am excited to see this partnership come to fruition because it supports students at this crucial stage of their lives. The Survey of Healthcare Careers is a comprehensive approach that will engage students by utilizing classroom lectures, shadowing and portfolios that meet the diverse learning needs of all students. The importance of what they do at this pivotal age will determine the outcome of their future.”

“I’ve seen a need for something like this for years,” continued Camille Shoffner, Northeast Community College instructor. “Too many times students come to us not really understanding the profession they think they want to pursue. We want to change that. I look forward to this new course and encourage parents, students and school counselors to look closely at the opportunities this program offers!”

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