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School, community partnership opens health careers to Yoakum High School students

Oct. 5, 2013 at 5:05 a.m.

The 12 Yoakum High School students in the Nurse Aide Program, seated, from left, are Reagan Friedel, Katherine Trujillo, Julian Zamora, Erin Cuellar, Brianna Villareal and Selena Amaro; standing, from left, are Kelly Dominguez, Leticia Ibarra, Miriam Rodriguez, Ashma Patel, Elena Garza and Vanessa Cervantes.

Twelve Yoakum High School juniors recently enrolled in the Victoria College's Nurse Aide Program as part of their high school curriculum.

The college also offers the program at Edna and Gonzales high schools.

Because not all students go to college, the Texas Education Agency has encouraged high schools to provide vocational and technical training for students so they could be job-ready when they graduate, said Marilyn Powell, Victoria College's allied health coordinator and instructor.

Tuition for each of the students enrolled in the program is paid for by the Yoakum Economic Development Board. The curriculum is state-approved and includes 64 hours of classroom instruction and 80 hours of clinical instruction.

"The administration, the whole economic development board and the school board are all extremely excited," Yoakum High School counselor Reggie Guettner said. "The kids are ecstatic about it."

Instructor Ellen Gonzales will introduce the students to health care systems and teach them hygiene, basic anatomy and physiology, body systems, how to measure vital signs, care of the client at home and care of clients with special needs. The students will do their clinicals at Yoakum Nursing and Rehabilitation and Stevens Health Care and Rehab Center.

Upon successful completion of the training, the Yoakum students will be eligible to take the Texas Nurse Aide Registry Exam.

"The program has been received very positively by the students, faculty and the community," Yoakum school district Superintendent Tom Kelley said. "It's filling a need in the community. They (students) receive the certification, they have the training, and they can go right into the job force but at the same time receive high school credits."

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