Marietta-based WellStar Health System announced its participation in the Nursing Career Pathway Program Pilot.

The program is an industry-driven initiative designed to address the statewide need for nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Hiram, Marietta and McEachern High Schools are planning implementation of the program beginning fall 2019.

The program provides an opportunity for rising high school students with an interest in nursing careers to enroll in college-level nursing courses at Chattahoochee Technical College while still attending high school. Students will progress into a 26-hour nursing prerequisite for dual college-high school credit and earn state nursing aide certification. WellStar will also provide onsite clinical experience throughout the duration of the program.

Once students complete their high school education, the college-level courses will count towards their nursing degree. Students will also receive clinical placements at WellStar and will have the opportunity to interview with WellStar upon graduation.

“We are excited to implement this program as one solution to the state’s shortage of nurses,” said Jill Case-Wirth, senior vice president and chief nurse executive, WellStar Health System. “We look forward to identifying students who have a passion for healthcare, nurturing this interest and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in a nursing role.”

The alignment of resources through the HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Career Scholarship and WellStar’s Tuition Assistance Program is intended to provide participating students the opportunity to complete their college education with little or no tuition cost.

“This is a real model for how schools, colleges and businesses can come together to forge clear pathways,” said Stephen Pruitt, president of the Southern Regional Education.

The Pathway Program was inspired by Sen. Lindsay Tippins, R-West Cobb, and an ongoing partnership between the lieutenant governor’s office, WellStar Health System, Technical College System of Georgia, University System of Georgia, Chattahoochee Technical College, Georgia Highlands College, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Department of Education, Cobb, Paulding and Marietta City Schools, Georgia Board of Nursing and the Southern Regional Education Board.

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