A new partnership will bring health care officials into the classroom in Tazewell County

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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RICHLANDS, Va. (WVVA) - Clinch Valley Health, like many hospitals in the U.S. is dealing with a shortage of workers. Many left during the coronavirus pandemic. Now Clinch Valley is partnering with Richlands High School to spotlight medical career paths to students. The goal: spark an interest for future employment.

“We’re going to have to go back to really what we call grassroots. Folks that are in high school to really introduce them to what healthcare is really all about. I mean most folks know what a physician is, most folks know what a nurse does. But there’s so many other careers in healthcare that folks just don’t know about,” said Clinch Valley Health CEO, Peter Mulkey.

Beginning this month the hospital will provide healthcare professionals as guest speakers to an EMT class currently taught at the school. Each lecture will align with what students are currently learning in class.

“We’ll send all different types of folks. We may send nurses. We may send people from our laboratory, we may send folks from our radiology department. So all aspects of healthcare over the course of the year, we will introduce to the students at Richlands High,” said Mulkey.

Richlands’ principal hopes the outreach will give students a new insight about the array of job opportunities out there that will allow them to stay here.

“Too many of our kids now they leave here and go to college and they move away to work and they don’t stay in our community. So I’m hoping that they’ll see good opportunities for good paying jobs here in our area and maybe some of these kids decide to stay here and raise a family here in Richlands,” said Principal Rickie Vencill.

Mulkey hopes the program will expand into more high schools in the near future.