• New Utica Community Schools academy focuses on health and human services

    Utica Community Schools is introducing a new academy that will prepare high school students for success in the quickly growing health and human services industry.

    The Utica High School Academy for Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin next year as a full-day program that combines core academic subjects with Career and Technical Education medical careers curriculum.

    “This new health academy supports our district’s mission to give students multiple pathways to find success,” Superintendent Robert S. Monroe said. “This program will help drive our local economy by providing business leaders the local talent that meets and exceeds their needs for high paying jobs.”

    HHS will focus on three career pathways:

    • Rehabilitation Services – focused on careers such as personal training, athletic trainer, registered dietician, occupational therapist or physical therapist
    • Public Safety – emphasizing careers such as Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), paramedic, firefighter or criminal investigator
    • Therapeutic Services – highlighting careers such as patient care technician, medical assistant, registered nurse, physician assistant or doctor

    HHS will be based at Utica High School. The academy will include English, social studies, math and science courses that align with state academic standards but are delivered through a medical lens.

    “The academy approach will provide our students the opportunity to explore their interests in medical studies in a smaller and more concentrated learning environment,” Principal Timothy Youngblood said. “Every student in this program will be working toward a common goal with a full range of courses that support their career interests and passions.”

    The program will begin at the 9th grade level for approximately 90 students and will add a grade level each school year.

    In addition to a comprehensive curriculum, the program will offer students a medical career expo in their sophomore year, a medical career-related job shadowing during their junior year and an extended internship during their senior year.

    A capstone project will be required of all students in their senior year to replicate industry-level challenges from Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) or based on partnership challenges with professional collaborators.

    The academy approach is projected to increase the number of students earning college credit through articulation agreements with post-secondary institutions and Advanced Placement graduates. Students can also earn certification from the American Heart Association.

    HHS graduates will be filling a critical need in the health industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031 – a rate much faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is expected to result in about 2 million new jobs over the decade.

    UCS worked closely with business partners in the development of the academy, including Ford Next Generation Learning, the national non-profit Project Lead the Way, Corewell Health (Beaumont) and Macomb Community College.

    An informational night for the program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19 at Utica High School, 47255 Shelby Road.

    HHS is the fifth high school specialty program offered through Utica Community Schools for high school students and the second school-based academy.

    Planning is under way to establish school-based academies that support the needs of local employers in critical Career and Technical Education fields.

    Questions? Contact Jeremy.Kranzo@uticak12.org