Stormont-Vail, USD 501 Announce Partnership

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new partnership will set Topeka students on a career path and help a local hospital fill its staff.

Topeka's USD 501 and Stormont-Vail HealthCare signed a deal Thursday for Stormont to pay $675,000 for 10.3 acres at USD 501's Kanza Science and Education Park. Stormont and the district will establish a career pathway for students to explore health care careers. Elementary students would do awareness activities, middle schoolers could volunteer at Stormont and high schoolers would focus on the needed academics and jobs skills for careers in the health care field.

USD 501 Board of Education president Patrick Woods says it's another example of the community partnerships USD 501 is working to cultivate. He says the Stormont agreement gives students a continuum of exposure to the health care field. It builds on the district's new program with Washburn Tech, offering students in a program at Highland Park High School a chance to earn certification as CNAs.

Beyond the land, Stormont is pledging $75,000 in scholarship money for Topeka Public School grads to attend Baker School of Nursing. Topeka USD 501 Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford says the scholarships will be an incentive for students to stay in Topeka and be productive members of the community.

Stormont sees a great potential for return on its investment, cultivating a workforce to meet the growing demands. Stormont COO Dr. Kent Palmberg says the idea of bringing students into health care early and getting them involved is a great way to let students know about the many opportunities in health care. As their organization continues to expand, he says, there is a constant need for workers.

Stormont says it will develop a plan next year on exactly how it will use the land, based on the community's growing needs. The scholarship program will begin in fall 2012.

Thursday's sale comes two weeks after the district sold three acres at Kanza to Valeo Behavioral Health Care. Under that agreement, Valeo workers will volunteer in the district's schools.


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