UNMH offers internship program to tackle health care worker shortage
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – One hospital system is targeting young people, and is investing a lot of money in training to increase the number of health care workers in New Mexico.
UNMH wants to get young minds across the state interested in health care, and experiencing what it’s like to work in the field.
“We’re really excited about expanding our partnership with Future Focused Education because it really helps us build the pipeline of our health care workforce for the future, and it’s a big investment in our community,” said UNMH CEO Kate Becker.
UNMH officials call it building an important pipeline in a non-traditional way. The program will fund up to 45 paid internship positions each year for high schoolers and recent graduates. It’ll cost a million dollars.
There are many different kinds of jobs the training covers. One young woman spoke about her experience in the program, learning how to be a medical assistant.
“I learned so much throughout that time. I got to the level of being able to do everything that an MA does without the certificate of an MA,” said Cesiah Gonzales.
She’s now a freshman at UNM.
“It’s truly been such an honor. I appreciate it so much. I never imagined in a million years that I’d be up here,” said Gonzalez.
The on-the-job training will be available statewide. Officials want to make sure students in rural areas have access, and they need workers in many different positions.
“We’re all seeking more of every kind of provider, and this is really how we meet young people where they are,” said Becker.
Officials say the shortage of workers is a crisis. Statewide they need thousands of nurses, medical assistants, and technicians.
UNMH is always looking for workers. Officials say last year they hired more than 1,600 people.
UNMH has used this program for the last few years, but only had a few interns.
Hospital officials say the success they saw during that time makes them feel confident that this is a good investment.
All high school students in New Mexico are eligible to apply for the internship program.
Program leaders said students can ask their school counselors how to apply, or they can go to the program’s website.