A health care program at the Warren County Career Center that creates a "platform for individuals to look at health care options" is closer to fruition.
Career Center Principal Dr. Darrell Jaskolka provided an update on the initiative to the school board's Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee at its meeting Monday evening.
Jaskolka said that three programs were reviewed and that a health medical assistance services program is the recommendation of a committee established to examine options and needs.
He explained that the program would "prepare individuals for entry level development" but also create a platform for students to pursue additional training to meet their interests.
Whether students wants to pursue their LPN, RN or become a dental hygienist, Jaskolka explained, the program would "give them a flavor or taste of what the health care field will entail."
The program would include a total of 40 hours of clinical experiences and reinforce different career options.
"We don't want to pigeon hole them into one location," said Jaskolka. "That's not the intent of this program."
The clinical experience would be sufficient to allow students to "obtain further certifications (and) make them more marketable when they graduate. They can have the certification when they come out. We're giving them a platform of options in the health care field."
A student interest survey was conducted to gauge interest in a health care program and Jaskolka said 131 students expressed interest and an additional 83 said they were unsure.
"I think we have interest in the district to pursue this program," he said.
But it won't come cheap.
He explained that start-up costs for the program will be approximately $120,000, with the largest item in that amount teacher salary and benefits, in addition to a host of equipment items that would be needed, as well.
In year two, an additional individual would have to be brought on board to supervise the clinical experiences. "The state requires us to have no more than 10 students per supervisor," he added. He said that funding from the Perkins Grant could likely be used to cover this expense.
Textbooks for the program are also currently under review.
A "tentative timeline" includes developing the scope and sequence of the curriculum this spring, promote the program to students this coming December, begin to schedule students in January and hire the educator in the summer of next year as well as outfit the space that will house the program.
Jaskolka said the program could then start in August of next year.
He added that the district has a two-year window to seek approval for the program from the state.
Superintendent Dr. William Clark said that "you'll begin to see elements in the budget" next year for the program but that the district is "still in investigation mode." Clark added that he hopes the cost estimate of $120,000 is high.