Three of the city’s oldest, most influential and community-minded institutions have come together to form a partnership to ensure that Paris and Lamar County continue to have enough high-quality medical staff to meet the needs of needs of its residents and those in the surrounding area.
Recently, the Paris Regional Medical Center, the Paris Junior College and the Saint-Joseph Community Foundation organized an open day for American students in the health professions and their parents to provide access to information on the courses of the college in the health care trades – including professional and associate nursing, emergency medical services, enhanced nurse’s aide, radiology technology, surgical technology, and medical chart coding – and jobs available for qualified personnel and ways to help pay for this training.
The event was held at the Bobby Walters Workforce Training Center on the college campus and featured tours of health professions facilities and visits with many current faculty and students in the division. Also present were representatives of the college financial aid office, the hospital’s human resources office and the foundation. Dozens of young people, many with their parents, have come from schools as far away as commerce, asking questions and gathering information to help plan their future curriculum.
âOne evening several years ago at a Senior Night football game, I listened to the announcer introduce the students and list where they were headed after graduation, and I couldn’t hear Paris. Junior College, âsaid Diane Nation, director of the Paris Regional Medical Center. education. âIt occurred to me that we needed to connect the health professions students in our schools with PJC as a way to achieve their professional goals. I approached Greg [Ferenchak] and Louise [Kessel], and we spoke with the director of human resources at the hospital and contacted the schools health professions programs.
âIt was before the pandemic,â she said. âSo it took us a while to get started. We had scheduled this event several times and had to cancel it several times, but here we are.
âUsually every high school will bring their students to tell us about the resource program,â said Greg Ferenchak, dean of health professions at the college. âThis open house aims to give all students – and their parents – a chance to speak one-on-one with teachers and learn about the types of financial aid available from the school as well as from other sources here that support this program.
âMoney shouldn’t be a barrier for a student who wants to enroll in health professions studies or any other program. ” he said. âWe want to let the students born and raised here stay here to learn and then work locally. Money is the hardest part of getting an education.
âHelping students stay here and work here is why the SJCF is a partner in this effort,â said Louisa Kessel, executive director of the foundation.
âThe mission of the foundation is to perpetuate the mission of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and their 92-year tradition of improving the availability and efficiency of medical care in the Red River Valley with particular emphasis on the underestimated. served or in financial need, âKessel said. âIn order to successfully accomplish the mission of the St. Joseph Community Foundation, we need excellent partners. PJC and PRMC are just that. By working together we are able to create a better educated and healthier community in which to live. Serving with these two organizations is a real pleasure.
The foundation has money specifically for people who will stay in the area to work after completing their studies, Kessel said.
âWe offer scholarships once a person is accepted into a program,â she said. âGrants have a lot of flexibility and can be used not only for tuition and books, but for things like rent or other expenses like gas money to get from one place to another. . The scholarships are based on the needs of the student. We ask them to give back to the community by staying and working here for a while. “
Nation said a variety of financial aids are available to anyone interested in studying in the college’s health professions programs.
âIn addition to college scholarships, there are other grants available, put together by members of the local community, some in honor of their loved one,â Nation said. âMy family started Maddie’s Gift, a fund in honor of our daughter, Madison, and there are grants other than the Pell Grant. The goal is to prevent a student from having to work full time and take a full course load. We want them to focus on their studies so that they can maintain their grades and complete within the two years that the courses are designed to take.
âAnd when they’re done, we want them to know we have a job ahead of them,â she said. âIt should relieve the student of the burden of finding a job after graduation. “
Paris Junior College offers its students a way to stay home and save money, while getting a basic college education economically, before graduating from a four-year school for the graduation.
The college’s workforce training division, including its health professions programs, is designed to meet the needs of those who decide to enter the workforce rather than aiming for that degree of four years.
âPJC is a great program and a great resource for the hospital and for the community,â said Ferenchak.