CHOP to train Mastery Schools students for jobs in health care

CHOP and Mastery Schools are partnering to teach Philly high school students to serve in health care roles.

school building

Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter (6abc)

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Mastery Charter Schools will partner with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to create a specialized healthcare curriculum to help its students land industry jobs upon graduation.

The collaboration is part of a new $250 million initiative announced Wednesday, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Some 6,000 students in nine other communities, including Boston, Dallas, Nashville and New York City, along with rural areas in Alabama and Tennessee

Graduates of the program will earn industry credentials and certifications, which can be parlayed into high-demand and well-paid jobs within the partnered health system. Students who continue to college can use the college credits the program offers.

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Based in Philadelphia, Mastery is one of the largest charter networks in the area, with 24 schools in the city and Camden, N.J. The company is now planning for the implementation of the program and expects to announce which schools will offer the program starting in 2025 this spring.

Joel Boyd, Mastery Schools CEO, said its mission is to ensure all students have the academic and personal skills they need to be prepared for success after high school and to pursue their dreams. “For us, that mission isn’t accomplished on graduation day but afterwards, when each student is on a…path to a family-sustaining wage career,” Boyd said. “In CHOP, we have a partner equally invested in the neighborhoods we serve, bringing its systems to bear for the long-term success of our students.”

Madeline Bell, CHOP president and CEO pointed out the hospital and Mastery’s similar missions. “We are both deeply committed to building healthy futures for all children – regardless of age, background or socioeconomic status.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two million health care jobs go unfilled each year. Some jobs, such as radiology technician, respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, pay between $50,000 and $70,000 a year and don’t require a four-year college degree.

The curriculum will be a hybrid of classroom work and hands-on experience at the partnering health systems, according to Bloomberg.

The other health systems and their educational partners are:

  • Mass General Brigham in Boston and Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
  • Atrium Health in Charlotte and Charlotte-Mechlenburg Schools
  • Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas and Uplift Education
  • Duke Health in Durham and Durham Public Schools
  • Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston and Aldine Independent School District
  • HCA Healthcare TriStar, Vanderbilt Health, Ascension Health and National HealthCare Corp. in Nashville and Nurses Middle College
  • Ballad Health in Johnson City, Tenn. And Northeast Tennessee Public Schools (six sites)
  • Northwell Health in New Hyde, NY and New York City Public Schools
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, other state health systems and hospitals in Demopolis, AL, (contingent on state funding.)

As part of a growing trend, companies such as CHOP have worked with non-profits, such as the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and OIC of America, to create tailored curriculums to help them fill the critical need for workers, made worse by the pandemic.

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Just this week, WPSI and others launched a biomedical technician training program to help fill jobs for the city’s growing life sciences industry, which research cures for diseases such as cancer. According to a spokesperson, in 2023, the Navy Yard reached a milestone of placing 100 people completing its courses with jobs paying $21 an hour.

“For too long, our education system has failed to prepare students for good jobs in high-growth industries,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of the foundation that bears his name, in a statement. “By combining classroom learning with hands-on experience, these specialized health care schools will prepare students for careers with opportunities for growth and advancement. America needs more health care workers, and we need a stronger, larger middle class – and this is a way to help accomplish both goals.”

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