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These LHS Grads are Headed for Careers in Health Care

Submitted by on June 7, 2017 – 8:09 pm

This initiative is supported by a group of community partners including front row left to right Jeanne Leydon, CEO of Mary Immaculate Health Services; Odanis Hernandez, project manager, LHS; and Susan Almono, assistant director, Merrimack Valley WIB. Back row left to right George Moriarty, executive director of workforce development and corporate relations, NECC, John Silva, president/CEO, GLFHC; Derek Mitchell, Lawrence Partnership; Jeff Riley, Superintendent, LPS, and Michael Fiato, headmaster, LHS.

Northern Essex Community College is a partner in a new pilot program that will prepare 16 Lawrence High School seniors for careers in health care.

Thanks to an alliance between six of the largest health care providers in the Merrimack Valley, these students will have free training for jobs in health care over the summer, jobs waiting for them in the fall, and the opportunity to continue their education, while working in the health care field.

The six health care employers that have made this commitment are Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Holy Family Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, Pentucket Medical Associates, Mary Immaculate Health Services, and Home Health Foundation. Each employer will pay for certified nurse assistant (CNA),  Home Health Aid (HHA) or medical assistant training for one to four students, starting in mid-June, and provide jobs once the training is completed.

At an event launching the pilot program on Tuesday, June 6, John Silva, president/CEO of GLFHC, shared why his organization felt it was important to support this initiative.    “There will always be jobs in health care,” he said.  “We want you to develop a career, hopefully one you will love.”

Once students have completed the initial training and are placed in jobs, they will be encouraged to continue their education in health care.  “This is a great opportunity to enter the health care field.  The plan is to create a career pathway so you can create long term goals,” said George Moriarty, Northern Essex Community College’s executive director of workforce development and corporate relations.

Northern Essex Community College will provide the CNA and HHA training and the Lare Institute will provide the medical assistant training.  Other partners include the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Youth Works, and the Lawrence Public Schools.  The Lawrence Partnership facilitated the program.

These recent LHS graduates will be stepping into careers in health care, thanks to a new community partnership.

Lawrence High School has been expanding learning opportunities for students, said Jeff Riley, superintendent of schools, through initiatives such as Early College, work study, internships, vocational learning, and, now, this pilot program.   “We want to connect students with the needs of the local workforce.”

Recommended by their guidance counselors, students were selected after a rigorous process that included testing and interviews with multiple healthcare employers.

Derek Mitchell, executive director of the Lawrence Partnership, hopes this program will become a model for other programs in other fields.

“This is a pilot program which, if successful, will be replicated in other industries which have workforce gaps and are looking to hire,” he said.

To learn more contact Derek Mitchell at