Houston joins Bloomberg Philanthropies’ first-of-its-kind initiative that connects students to job opportunities with family-sustaining wages in 10 communities across the U.S.
Memorial Hermann Health System and Aldine ISD announced today an unprecedented partnership to design a career-technical education (CTE) high school that will help prepare students for well-paying careers in health care and address local education and health care talent needs.
The Health Education and Learning High School, or HEAL High School, will share a campus with Nimitz High School and will fully integrate health care career knowledge and job-training with a high-quality, well-rounded high school experience for students in the Houston area, graduating students directly into high-demand health care jobs with family-sustaining wages.
The program, which will open in the fall of 2024 and be phased in over four academic years, will serve approximately 760 students at capacity. It is part of a first-of-its-kind $250 million initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies that is connecting health and education systems to create new CTE high schools in 10 urban and rural communities across the country.
Supported by an initial $31 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies to Memorial Hermann Foundation, Memorial Hermann and Aldine ISD will co-develop HEAL’s curriculum, which will offer robust academic programming, specialized health care classes, work-based learning, and the opportunity to earn industry-valued credentials and certifications along with traditional high school learning and diplomas. This initiative will also offer students an opportunity to gain direct work experience and access to rewarding jobs within Memorial Hermann immediately following graduation.
“For too long, our education system has failed to prepare students for good jobs in high-growth industries,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and 108th mayor of New York City. “By combining classroom learning with hands-on experience, these specialized health-care high 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."
The state of Texas is currently experiencing shortages in nurses, primary care physicians, technicians, therapists and pharmacists. Many of these jobs pay family-sustaining wages, provide clear paths to economic mobility, and are resilient to automation or outsourcing. Further, some may not require a four-year degree but offer a path to grow careers through continued education.
“We are excited to partner with Aldine ISD to bring Houston a new career-technical education high school that, through rigorous classroom instruction and a hands-on learning approach, will help prepare students for well-paying careers in health care and address critical health care talent needs, as well as provide valuable educational opportunities for students throughout the region,” said David L. Callender, MD, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann.
“Students are hungry for educational experiences today that feel relevant to what they will do tomorrow in their careers, many of them also wish to serve their community’s needs with purposeful work. This new high school model will ensure students in Aldine ISD interested in health care careers can gain real experience while still learning the core foundational math, science, and literacy skills that we focus on during those formative secondary years,” said Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, Superintendent of Schools for Aldine ISD. “We hope to be a model for schools across the country that a holistic high school experience with fully integrated career-technical education is not just possible but profound for students and the entire community.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment will support school start-up costs including personnel needs, classroom and lab renovations, and other work-based learning requirements. HEAL will be specifically designed to provide traditional academic courses based on state graduation requirements, as well as specialized health care classes co-taught by Memorial Hermann employees using the co-designed curricula.
Students will also engage in immersive work-based learning at Memorial Hermann facilities. In ninth and 10th grades, students will participate in job-shadowing and practice their skills in simulation labs; starting in 11th grade, students will have access to paid health care internships and professional mentoring, among other work-based learning experiences. Well-rounded, co-curricular programs including but not limited to arts, physical education and affinity group activities will also be offered.