Governor's Health Academy on the Horizon for Southside Students

Danville, VA - Educators want to bring a program to the Dan River Region that will give students a leg up in the healthcare industry.

The Governor's Health Science Academy is designed to prepare students for jobs in the health and science fields.

The program is for students who are interested in a career in health care, but don't quite know what they need to do to get there.

Through advanced education, internships and mentorship, the students could be placed on a path to success.

Jackie Rochford is one of the driving forces behind a Governor's Health Science Academy coming to the Dan River region. Her goal is to encourage students as early as seventh grade to start exploring options in the health care field and start on the right path to their careers.

"What we want to do is get them stronger in the science and the math and understand that goes along with a good career in the health area, " said Rochford, the Adult Career & Technical Education Coordinator.

The program will include pathways of specialized courses and possible internship opportunities with healthcare organizations like Danville Regional Medical Center.

It will take about five years to go into full effect.

"We actually have some parts of it already: the CNA, or nurse aid program, the EMT program and dental assisting, " Rochford said.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to develop this program, "said Danville Public Schools Superintendent Sue Davis.

Davis hopes the academy will help students who will in turn come back and help the community.

"They can go on to community college or a four year university and come back to the Danville area and provide those health services for us, " said Davis.

"That's where jobs are and where jobs are projected to be in the next twenty years. We want to prepare our students in this area to be the best that they can be, " said Rochford.

In order to bring the academy to fruition, Rochford says they're hoping to get help from healthcare and workforce providers in the community to give feedback and help design the curriculum for the students.