Governor proposes new statewide school for health care

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:30 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey said she plans to create a new statewide high school dedicated to the instruction of health care. It’s an effort to address the growing health care worker shortage.

“This new health care high school, to be located in Demopolis, will offer an innovative curriculum for ninth through 12th grades, exposing them to a diversity of STEM and health care opportunities,” Ivey said during her State of the State address Tuesday.

Douglas Brewer, CEO of Whitfield Regional Hospital in Demopolis, is no stranger to the ongoing health care staffing shortage and said this school would allow students to not only train, but to be put in positions to be hired immediately after graduation.

“I really see this as a chance to serve the whole state. certainly, I mean, we all need more clinicians, both urban and rural areas,” he said.

Brewer said the the school will allow them to identify kids at an earlier age who may be interested in health care. He they could get in students who have aptitude, appreciation and a want to be in the field.

Demopolis Mayor Woody Collins said it is exciting for the community to be included in this effort.

“Every very star seems to have aligned in this project,” said Collins. “A school of this nature and this size with the staff and the facilities themselves, it’s going to have a tremendous impact.”

Collins said they have already established some strong partnerships with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which operates Whitfield Regional Hospital, along with Wallace Community College and others. He said if the proposal moves forward, the city is prepared to donate the former New Era Cap Co building.

If approved by lawmakers, this would be the fourth statewide magnet school, joining the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Alabama School of Math and Science, and Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering.

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