AACAL To Provide Distance Learning in Gateway to Health Careers Project

AACAL To Provide Distance Learning in Gateway Project
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December 3, 2014 In a press conference held at Amarillo ISD on Wednesday, community leaders came together to unveil the Gateway to Health Careers Project, a program which will provide distance learning in healthcare education to students in 13 rural communities over a three year period.

“We believe this partnership will not only be positive for AISD, but for the future of health care services in the Texas Panhandle,” AACAL Principal Jay Barrett said. “Workforce statisticians continue to tell us there is an increasing demand for healthcare providers, and a key component of Gateway is to increase the workforce in this field, especially in the rural areas.”  

Web-based classroom instruction in three classes - Principles of Health Science, Clinical Medical Assistant, and Emergency Medical Technician - will be provided by AACAL teachers. The students will then gain their clinical experiences in SimCentral’s Mobile Sim Lab and through patient interactions provided by community hospitals, long-term care facilities and emergency services in their own communities.

“Our AACAL teachers will continue to provide quality instruction in these specialized classes like they do every day, but now students from all around the Panhandle will be able to access the instruction as well,” Barrett said. “The certifications the students can earn will allow them to either enter the workforce right away or move on to more healthcare education and other careers as they gain more instruction. This creates a true “gateway” to their futures.”

The purpose of the project is twofold. First, the project is designed to expand workforce availability for rural community healthcare employers of the Panhandle by increasing the number of area high schools offering health science programs. Second, the project provides a clearly-defined program of study in health science technology so students can graduate high school with an endorsement in public service.

The Gateway Project is a joint collaboration between SimCentral (an alliance between the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University) Amarillo ISD, Coalition of Health Services, Harrington Regional Medical Campus and the Texas Panhandle Coalition for Nursing.

The Gateway to Health Careers Project plans to visit the following communities beginning in September 2015: Bovina, Canadian, Childress, Dimmitt, Friona, Gruver, Highland Park, Perryton, Shamrock, Spearman, Tulia, Wellington and Wheeler.

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