Students at Detroit Schools Train for Jobs

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Health Care Services Training Introduced at Detroit Schools 
In keeping with the trend of combining classroom theory with invaluable on the job training in high schools around the country, Detroit schools too have come up with a program that will enable 10th graders to graduate with an associate degree besides their high school diploma.  The program, which is a partnership between Detroit public schools, Detroit Medical Center and the Wayne County Community College District, will kick off in the 2007-08 school year.  The funding for this ambitious project will come from state planning grants, district grants and private funding. 
Getting a Head Start on Life at Detroit Schools 
According to the program, sophomores in the Detroit schools will be able to attend college level courses that will impart training in healthcare related services – nursing, occupational therapy technician, respiratory therapy technician, emergency medical technician, dental assistant, dental hygienist and other programs. 
The classes will be free of charge, and are expected to initially serve 150 sophomores.  Students with a minimum 2.0 average are eligible to apply to the program.  Enrollment decisions will be arrived at after a process of interviews and recommendations made by the principal.  Students at Detroit schools under this program will be able to obtain transferable college credits along with the usual courses that are mandatory for a high school diploma.  However, students who wish to complete the program will need to put in an additional year after high school.  Kettering High School is the first among Detroit schools to introduce the program although plans are underway to add more schools to the list.  
The announcement of the program at Detroit schools is a positive step in the right direction and promises to benefit all parties concerned. In recent years the Detroit schools have been struggling against declining enrollment figures, students who will need more reasons if they are to choose to stay on in the school district, and the city’s healthcare services sector that’s facing a looming staff crunch.  In fact, the state is expected to face a shortage of 7,500 nurses over the next five years, and trained students from Detroit schools will be perfectly placed to fill in those gaps.
A Ray of Hope in the Detroit Schools 
The enthusiasm for this new program at Detroit schools offers a faint glimmer of hope for the embattled school district as it faces a plethora of crises ranging from disgruntled teachers to migrating students.  Years of half-hashed measures and lack of will have turned this district, once one of the country’s most populous, into one chronically plagued by empty schools and dwindling student rosters.  One hopes this program will be the first of many innovative measures that will serve as incentives to lure students back to Detroit schools.