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New Vocational Path for High School Students in NYC


High schools have long taught vocational skills like car-repair and woodworking. But a new program in New York City is training young people in medical skills. And the schools are partnering with hospitals to make sure the students can get jobs after they graduate.

Vi Tran visited the program.


TRAN: The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management is a public high school on the Lower East Side. It specializes in the emergency management field to prepare students for different paths in the medical field. Recently, they were one of the first schools to get money from the state for a program called “Future Ready NYC.” This program allows schools to partner with workplaces to get new work skills for students.

Rasheed Bility is the principal there. He says not every student needs to go to college.

BILITY: While we do think that going to college is really important, we don't know if students want to go to college as soon as they graduate from high school. So exposing them to opportunities while they're in high school is like really, really, really important.

TRAN: The new opportunities at this school are to learn about health care. They have partnered with Northwell Health. The school offers students a chance to get the skills needed to become emergency medical technicians. An EMT.

BILITY: When they do leave the school, they are equipped to have like a rewarding career as long term socio economic security, and to be a force in the workplace, or in the workforce in general.

TRAN: One of the students in the program is Justin Trigueros. He’s a senior who took classes on CPR. He’s now an intern with the emergency services department that takes care of public housing.

TRIGUEROS: And I found that it was pretty interesting. And it was a great learning experience for myself and the field that I want to get into in future.

TRAN: And what is the field that you want to get in in the future?

TRIGUEROS: I want to do more of a law enforcement and like, medical side of things. So having that experience with a department that deals with all three, that being police, fire and medical, it was a great experience. It's a great experience and a learning experience for me.

TRAN: Currently there are 25 students in the program. Michael Buchney is the school’s work-based learning coordinator. He says the internship program is only for seniors… to make sure that students still get a full education.

BUCHNEY: By your senior year, you've earned most of your credits, your schedule is starting to, you know, become a lot of fluff classes or interesting classes. Let's get you to your core classes in the morning, and let's get you out the door at lunch and go start your job, you know, in the afternoon. And that's a model that works.

TRAN: Buchney says one nice thing about the program is that you can see success right away.

BUCHNEY: If they were to go through the EMT program and earn their New York State EMT license, they could work right away, you know, in July, weeks after they graduate, they would be eligible and certified to work. And we have students who have taken that path.

TRAN: At this school, the focus is health care. But eventually the program will expand to other schools and offer internships in other areas like technology, business and education.

It is expected that more than 30 high schools will end up taking part.

Reaching about 5000 students.

Vi Tran, Columbia Radio News.


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