A career in healthcare is possible with HPOG 2.0

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that over the next decade healthcare occupations will grow faster than any other field. As the need for these professionals grows, experts predict there will be more jobs available than there are qualified individuals to fill them. More than ever, we need nurses, radiologic technicians, phlebotomists, medical administrative assistants, and certified nursing assistants. However, becoming qualified to do this work can be challenging.

For that reason, over the last three years FM has participated in a unique federal grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, designed to help qualified individuals in our community become part of the growing healthcare field.

The mission of the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG 2.0) is simple — help people with the passion and the talent for this work successfully complete degrees and training programs.

Eligible participants can receive academic supports, such as mentoring and tutoring. They may also qualify for financial support to cover the cost of textbooks, transportation to and from class, supplies like scrubs and stethoscopes, and even childcare.

This spring, because of their hard work, dedication, and a little help from HPOG 2.0, nearly two dozen FM graduates are on their way to a career in healthcare.

One of those inspiring graduates is Brittany Tatlock.

Brittany always knew she would one day become a nurse, but her path to the diploma was not easy.

“Unless you’re in the program, you don’t understand how many sacrifices you have to make — but the light is so close,” she says.

After returning to college, Brittany “had to figure out how to pay for it all” as she juggled a job and her studies.

With HPOG 2.0, she didn’t need to worry as much. The grant covered the cost of textbooks and her transportation to her clinical practice site.

Even when her car’s transmission broke, she didn’t need to miss a single class. As if finishing a nursing program wasn’t impressive enough, under the grant, Brittany also completed a workshop in medical Spanish.

Needless to say, she’s looking forward to all that’s next — getting her first job as a nurse and decorating her cap for graduation.

Abbie Reed also dreamt about a career in the medical field. In addition to her black graduation robe, Abbie will receive her white clinical coat as she completes the radiologic technician program this May.

Abbie had been working full time when she was admitted to the program, but knew she would need to cut back her hours in order to focus on her studies.

As a single mother, this was not an easy decision, but after learning that HPOG 2.0 could cover the costs of childcare while she was in class, Abbie felt more confident.

“I was elated and excited when I got into the rad tech program. I felt relieved that HPOG could take away some of the financial burdens to make it possible,” she said.

Motivated to make a better life for her and her son, Abbie not only made the dean’s list but also Lambda Nu, the radiologic technician honors society. She attributes her success to her family, her tight-knit program, “having a good work ethic,” and HPOG 2.0.

If you are considering a career in healthcare, contact FM’s HPOG 2.0 project staff at hpog@fmcc.edu or (518) 332-6305 to see if you qualify.

As part of a federal research study, HPOG 2.0 requires all participants to go through an intake process and is lottery-based.

Dr. Mary Del Savio is the HPOG 2.0 project director at FM.