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Delaware Tech launches new healthcare program at William Penn

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Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard joined William Penn High School allied health students, Bank of America Delaware President Chip Rossi and Colonial School District Superintendent Jeffrey Menzer to celebrate the launch of the patient care technician/nursing pathway program on April 8./PHOTO COURTESY OF DELAWARE TECH

NEW CASTLE – Students at William Penn High School will soon have another pathway option thanks to the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® Award.

Delaware Technical Community College was one of two entities in Delaware to win the $200,000 award announced in 2023, a portion of which helped pave the way to a new pilot program that could bridge a gap between high school and college for up to 15 William Penn High School sophomores.

For those students, the patient care technician/nursing pathway program could be an opportunity for them to earn industry-recognized credentials, according to Delaware Tech, and complete three college credit courses for free which equates to 12 college credits, or about one-quarter of an associate degree program – all before they graduate high school. The awarded funds will also help Delaware Tech purchase laptops and textbooks for the pathway students. 

“Students who complete courses in this pathway program will not only graduate high school with 12 college credits, but they will also be prepared to enter highly competitive academic programs in healthcare,” Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard said in a press release after the program was launched Monday, April 8. “And we know that dual enrollment programs provide students with the incentive they need to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and earn their degrees.”

Educators say pathways like this one can also increase job readiness and workforce development opportunities.

The patient care technician/nursing pathway is not the first healthcare related pathway to be seen in William Penn’s classrooms. The high school already offers an Allied Health Pathway for students interested in a variety of health care fields and includes certification options such as EKG, phlebotomy and emergency medical responder.

While allied health is a general health care pathway, the new patient care technician/nursing pathway will focus more on patient care and nurse assistant-type programming. Several other high schools across the First State offer a similar pathway including Brandywine, Thomas McKean, Caesar Rodney, Concord, Woodbridge and Mount Pleasant.

“We are thrilled to join Delaware Tech in this innovative educational opportunity,” Amy Slama, allied health teacher at William Penn High School, said in the press release. “The students selected are excited to get a head start on college credits and experience, network and connect with college professors and healthcare workers, and gain insight into their future careers.”

The benefits of this program was echoed by Bank of America Delaware President Chip Rossi who said the new pathway will meet critical needs in the First State.

“The partnership between Delaware Tech and William Penn High School addresses significant needs throughout Delaware,” Chip Rossi, president of Bank of America Delaware, said in the press release. “Providing Delaware Tech with flexible funding and leadership training not only supports this innovative academic program but creates career opportunities for many young students in Delaware now and in the future.”

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