Last week, The New Jewish Home in New York City celebrated the Geriatric Career Development (GCD) program’s class of 2016!
The GCD program was launched in 2006 to train and support at-risk high school students from underserved areas get their academic careers back on track while building a knowledge base for positions in healthcare. A sister program trains young adults 18-24 who are underemployed and out of school to become Home Health Aides.
This year’s GCD class—the largest in the 10-year-old program’s history—is 59% Hispanic/Latino, 28% African-American and Caribbean, and 13% Asian and Pacific Islander, a diversity that reflects The New Jewish Home’s location in one of the most ethnically rich cities in the country. Of the 75 graduates, 99% will start college in the fall having earned scholarships worth more than $1,200,000. Many plan to major in Biology, Nursing, Pre-Med and other subjects that will prepare them for professional lives in healthcare.
High school students engage in a three year work study program at The New Jewish Home Bronx and Manhattan campuses where they become immersed in a long-term care setting shadowing staff, providing care (making hospital beds, transporting elders, taking vital signs), and building relationships through meaningful engagement with elders. This year’s class has spent more than 8,000 hours with The New Jewish Home’s elders. In addition, the program provides internships, professional mentors, professional development, career coaches, and college-readiness assistance.
Participants aim to complete the program with various allied healthcare certifications including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Home Health Aides, Phlebotomy Technicians, Electrocardiography Technicians, Patient Care Technicians, and Medical Coding & Billing Specialists. The certifications offer both additional learning and a way for students to earn money to help support their college education. This year’s graduates have earned more than 80 certifications.
Since the GCD program began in 2006, over 500 students have graduated. Of those, 98% graduated high school or earned an equivalency diploma and 91% have either enrolled or graduated from a post secondary program or are fully employed.
What is most remarkable about GCD, however, are the relationships formed between the students and The New Jewish Home’s elders. Every student is paired with an elder who serves as a guide, mentor, and friend throughout the student’s GCD journey. The bonds that form as a result are incredible. One GCD graduate wrote, “My mentor, Robert, was like a grandfather to me…[offering] insight on his own personal life.”
This innovative program enhances the lives of elders and students through deep-knowing relationships and is shaping the next generation of high quality, person-centered healthcare professionals.
Congratulations to the class of 2016!
Photo Credit: The New Jewish Home
The New Jewish Home, one of the country’s largest and most diversified not-for-profit geriatric health and rehabilitation systems, is building The Living Center of Manhattan, New York City’s first Green House residence and the first Green House high-rise in a major urban center; creating the first Green House legacy project, seven Green House-based Small Houses at the organization’s Westchester campus; and training its 3,500 team members in the core Green House values of “meaningful life,” “real home” and “empowered staff.”