Allied health program attracts scores of students

Occupations health teacher Charlene Pelland helps Ontario High School sophomore Riley Johnson create his resume in the allied health class. The resume will help Johnson land an eight-hour job shadow with a health professional in the area.

ONTARIO — The newest addition to Malheur County’s Poverty to Prosperity initiative is off to a good start.

The new allied health program, which is in its first year, has high school students on a fast track to receiving their certified nursing assistant certification through the two-year career and technical education program aimed at juniors and seniors.

“That curriculum will build into a medical assistant program here in the college,” said Abby Lee, public information director at Treasure Valley Community College. “In 2016, we will have the program ready.”

Ontario, Vale and Nyssa school districts are partnering with TVCC and the local business community as part of the Poverty to Prosperity strategy.

The initiative’s goal is to change the economic climate of Malheur County and provide opportunities for area high school students.

Sixty-one students from the three districts are participating in the allied health program, including 36 students from Ontario, 19 from Nyssa and six students from Vale.

“We hired an instructor, and she travels to each of those schools every single day,” Lee said.

Charlene Pelland, of Ontario, is the teacher.

“They’re working on their resumes right now,” Pelland said. “Then they will do an eight-hour job shadow in the community. In their second year, we’re hoping that they can start taking classes at TVCC to get their CNA.”

Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario is one of the local businesses that has agreed to partner with TVCC and area school districts. The hospital provides guest lectures in the classrooms and is open to job shadows as the program progresses.

“We have nurses, doctors and a phlebotomist going into the classrooms,” said Ken Hart, vice president of operations at Saint Alphonsus. “We want to expose the students to our industries and our staff.”

Hart said the allied health program has two tracks. One will qualify students for medical filing, and the other puts them on track for a certified nursing assistant certification.

“Over time, we’d like to tighten things up,” he said.

Jessica Else is a news reporter at The Argus Observer. She can be reached at (541) 823-4822 or by emailing jessicae@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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