Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Commissioner Daisy Lynum and officials from area hospitals and schools launched an ambitious plan today to bring new job opportunities in health care to low-income residents of West Orlando.
Speaking at Orlando Tech, Mayor Dyer said the city’s growing biomedical and healthcare industry offers the “opportunity for nearly 30,000 jobs and $7.6 billion of economic impact in the next 10 years.”
The Orlando Medical Careers Partnership is designed primarily to help Parramore’s residents take advantage of those high-paying job opportunities by equipping them with the skills they need to become future nurses, doctors, medical assistants and lab technicians.
Led by the city’s Blueprint Employment office, other partners in the project include Valencia, Orlando Tech, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, Orange Country Public Schools, Florida Hospital, Orlando Health and Workforce Central Florida.
Last week, the first ten students to benefit from the program began their Practical Nurse training at Orlando Tech and at the same time, also began their pre-requisite courses at Valencia for the nursing program. After a year, they will enter an accelerated nursing program at Valencia that will allow them to earn their Associate in Science degree in nursing and take the exam to become a registered nurse.
“We offered them a pathway that allows them to reach their potential,” said Falecia Williams, president of the college’s West Campus where the program will be offered.
Students will have a dedicated advisor, faculty member and tutoring, as well as clinical training opportunities with the three hospital partners. Workforce Central Florida will cover the costs for tutoring.
“Once you get ‘RN’ behind your name, the number of opportunities will just multiply,” said Ebony Thompson, one of the students involved in the program. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”