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San Juan College, Ute Mountain tribe partner to offer health education

Four career tracks offered for fast-track certificates
San Juan College recently partnered with Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to bring a health occupation program to the college.

FARMINGTON – Students interested in health occupations now have a new opportunity at San Juan College through a program sponsored by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and funded with money from Health Profession Opportunity Grants that will put students on a grant-funded fast-track to earn a certificate in one of four programs.

Through the tribe with the grants, SJC now provides eligible students an opportunity to get a fast-track certificate in as little as eight weeks.

A news release sent by SJC said there are four health care career tracks offered, including certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, phlebotomy technician and pharmacy technician.

Students who qualify for the program, which covers tuition, will also receive money for fees, course materials, uniforms and more.

The goal of Health Profession Opportunity Grants “is to have students gain both a recognized certification and actual experience in a clinical setting, to ensure quick entry into regular, full-time employment,” the release said.

The program is managed by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, however the release said students across the region can apply. Income, residence location by ZIP code and which program option they select are some of the eligibility requirements taken into consideration.

“We are pleased to partner with the Ute Mountain Learning Center to connect students with funding that can put them on the path to higher paying, rewarding careers,” said SJC Dean of Workforce and Economic Development Lorenzo Reyes, in the release. “We know there is a high interest in health careers, and this grant represents a wonderful opportunity for students who qualify.”

The release said that from beginning to end, students will have access to supportive services so they can successfully get their certification in their field.

“We understand that whether students are returning to school or coming to college for the first time, it can sometimes feel overwhelming,” said SJC Director of Continuing Education Liesl Dees. “We are excited to walk students through the process from start to finish to ensure they have the support they need to reach their full potential. Enrolling in an entry-level health care program, can certainly serve as the beginning to numerous other options to advance in a health care career.”

San Juan Regional Medical Center and the SJC have had a long history of collaboration efforts in the community, said Laura Werbner, spokeswoman for the hospital.

“Students are able to train for a rewarding career in the health care field at San Juan College, and San Juan Regional Medical Center is able to retain highly qualified talent from right here in the Four Corners,” Werbner said.

Werbner added that the hospital looks forward to welcoming the newly certified students and hopes they will make SJRMC their “professional home.”

“We are always in need of dedicated health professionals who want to make a difference in their patients’ lives, and we have seen more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic the important role health care plays in our community,” Werbner said.

To learn more about the program, or eligibility, visit www.sanjuancollege.edu/hpog/ or www.utelearning.org/health-professionals-opportunity-grant.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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