Lowcountry AHEC is partnering with Colleton County High School’s Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy to provide online health career modules to students in the New Tech Health Careers Academy. This collaboration has taken AHEC into new territory, adapting content that was previously disseminated in-person during an after-school program for high school students. As an after-school program, 20-30 students from grades nine through 12 attended the meetings conducted at Lowcountry AHEC in Walterboro. Now, by partnering with the Colleton County High School (CCHS), Lowcountry AHEC’s health careers program will work with 92 freshmen participating in their first year of the academy. The workshops that were previously conducted after school are delivered online with supplemental activities taking place as part of the school day. Each year Lowcountry AHEC will work with a new set of freshmen matriculating at CCHS, in addition to the current students progressing through their sophomore, junior and senior years.
Lowcountry AHEC Center Director Diane Mathews said that the new modality for introducing students to diverse health care careers is a pilot program that will hopefully become a way to extend workshops and programming to more high school students across the state in the near future. The online format will allow students who previously faced barriers to joining Lowcountry AHEC’s Health Careers Academy (work commitments, transportation logistics, etc.) more flexibility to participate in the program’s workshops, since they can be done online from a tablet, laptop or computer.
Lowcountry AHEC has transformed one office at their Walterboro center into a recording studio where Health Careers Program Coordinator Jalacy Green is producing video presentations, voice-overs, and other web-based information for the students to access from school or home. For this school year, Lowcountry AHEC, in collaboration with South Carolina AHEC staff from across the state, is producing six educational modules for the students. Each month Ms. Green will facilitate health care related activities at CCHS during the school day. Ms. Green said the program’s five career clusters — Biotechnology Research and Development, Health Informatics, Therapeutic Services, Support Services and Diagnostic Services — contain multiple career options for students to consider. Both CCHS administrators and Lowcountry AHEC want the students to be exposed to as many of these health careers as possible.
Lowcountry AHEC believes that these modules will provide students with the tools and information they need to begin considering a path toward a health profession career. Lowcountry AHEC is excited to provide content for the New Tech Health Careers Academy and help their students get started on their health care journey.