New partnership gives Dothan students hospital early experience

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- The city's largest employer, Southeast Health, is now working with the students in Dothan City Schools.

It's a partnership that will benefit the hospital, school system, and community.

“We need good jobs so our kids can stay here. That's what we're doing. That's what this is. Thank you southeast health we appreciate it,” says Dothan City School Board Chairman Mike Schmitz.

The partnership between Southeast Health and Dothan City Schools led to the creation of the Academy of Health Science and Biomedical Science at the Dothan Technology Center.

“We are excited the students enrolled in the two academies will be able to connect to the real world health care environment through of variety of expanded activities and opportunities,” says Southeast Health’s chief of human resources Kelly Hurt.

At the academy, students will have firsthand learning through job shadowings, internships, and jobs.

“We are going to train the next generation of health care workers. We're going to continue to push towards excellence in our schools and in our businesses,” says DCS director of workforce development Chris Duke.

For DCS students it means earlier exposure to the health care field.

“They will be able to use supplies that are actually used in the laboratory and so they will be able to see higher technological advances and be able to learn how to use the laboratory equipment,” says Dothan High junior Carrie Smith.

Students will also be able to test out career options before committing to them.

“When you're going to look into colleges and into what degree you want to be in it is hard to know until you are right there, and being able to go out into the hospital and really get to be there you're able to discern if you would like to go into that field or not,” says Smith.

For the hospital, it's a way to find its next wave of employers.

“This model partnership will be held as a gold standard in bringing business and education together for the success of the students today and the students of tomorrow,” says Duke.

This advances Superintendent Phyllis Edwards’s goal to make DCS the best school system in the nation.

“We can do it because partnerships like this and because of the support that we have from the chamber from the community from the mayor from all the folks that understand that educating all of you students is the most important thing that we can possibly do,” says Edwards.

Southeast Health students, members of the chamber of commerce, and the students of the new academy were at the ribbon-cutting.

State senator Donnie Chesteen was unable to attend Friday's event but sent a $15,000 check for the academy.
Southeast Health's total investment includes $130,000 over three years.