ROSEBURG, Ore., Oct. 10, 2023 — A new program stemming from a partnership between Umpqua Community College and Aviva Health – with funding from a $1,007,226 grant from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) – will empower students interested in health care careers while addressing the need for local health care workers.
The grant-funded program will provide tuition assistance and guaranteed employment upon completion for 24 students enrolled in one of UCC’s Allied Health curriculum programs over the course of three years. In addition to covering tuition, the HECC grant will award a $1,500 stipend to each student annually to cover housing and personal expenses.
Program participants will experience work-based learning in the health care discipline they choose and be guaranteed employment with Aviva Health upon completion. The program uses the “Earn to Learn” model, which allows students to prove themselves as skilled health care workers by utilizing both classroom learning and actual experience.
Leadership from UCC and Aviva Health developed the program as part of a strategic partnership to help local students achieve their career goals, while simultaneously meeting the demands for healthcare in Douglas County, where a shortage of skilled health workers has become a major challenge for the community in recent years.
“The grant money we received not only covers the cost of education but sets the student up for their future career. The partnership with Aviva will provide the pathway for students to have an excellent opportunity to secure a family supporting-wage job, and it will provide a direct benefit to our community by expanding much-needed healthcare services,” said UCC President Rachel Pokrandt. “It is critical in small communities that we partner to serve our local needs and I am proud of the partnership with Aviva health and their forward-thinking approach to serving Douglas County.”
Eligible programs in the UCC Allied Health Program include Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomist, and Dental Assistant. The average salary for careers in allied health is $45 an hour, or $90,000 annually, according to Lightcast Data.
“The program will help us bring much needed medical workforce into our community as trained medical professionals join our local staff,” said KC Bolton, CEO of Aviva Health. “We look at this as the start of a new beginning for community health in our region as we train more of our rural community members so that they can become culturally informed providers. They have lived experiences in our community so they know what the needs are here and can respond to that once they enter the field.”