At the graduation were: Back row – Tulsa Children’s Project Manager Jerry Root with graduates Cheryl Remache, Guadalupe Anaya, Brittany Bollinger, ShaKaye Releford, Tammy McKinney and Mayor Dewey BartlettFront row – Graduates Melisa Villegas, Jesica Figueroa, Angela Lewis and Jovan Crawford with Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, PhD (OU-Tulsa professor of internal medicine and Tulsa Children’s Project director)
TULSA, Okla. – The OU School of Community Medicine’s Tulsa Children’s Project () and George Kaiser Family Foundation held a graduation ceremony on Sunday evening at B’nai Emunah for nine participants who completed the EduCareers certified nurse assistant program. The nine mothers of Educare children graduated with certification and qualify for promising careers in the nursing field.
EduCareers, which is funded by George Kaiser Family Foundation, is one component of the , a program that focuses on advancing the economic and educational achievement of local low-income families with young children. Partners include Tulsa Educare, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, Family & Children’s Services and Tulsa Community College.
Initially focusing on the high demand field of nursing, EduCareers combines team-based, high-quality college education with practical, social and emotional support to optimize participants’ success. Program participants are provided with tuition, books, assistance with workforce applications, weekly support group meetings, counseling, transportation and childcare services, and monetary incentives for good performance.
“These nine graduates have exceeded our hopes and expectations for this program. Each woman has an amazing, unique story to tell,” said Project Manager Jerry Root. “They are all on track to enter the nursing field and will become true testimonials and advocates for our next nursing cohort recruitment beginning in March 2011.”
Educare began marketing the EduCareers program to parents of children at Educare 1 through information sessions and referrals from family support specialists at the center. Applicants were then interviewed to assess the depth of individual interest and motivation for nursing. Eligible candidates underwent academic assessments at Workforce Tulsa and 10 applicants were approved to start nursing studies in August 2010. Of those 10, one was already certified and will be moving forward with the nursing cohort in January 2011 as they begin -preparatory coursework at Tulsa Tech.
“This exceptional program is part of an integrated model of support for all those who impact a young child’s life, including parents and teachers at Educare,” said Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, PhD, OU-Tulsa Professor of Internal Medicine. “Because EduCareers was designed as a stair-stepped program, some of the graduates can start working in the nursing field as a immediately, some will go on to pursue their and some will follow with more education to become registered nurses. With the high demand for health care workers and nurses in particular, the program offers participants the opportunity to become certified in an area that provides good job prospects with long-term career benefits.”
The nursing program, funded by George Kaiser Family Foundation and coordinated by OU-Tulsa, requires each participant to hold a high school diploma or to be eligible. Candidates must also successfully complete the Workforce Tulsa screening exams and exhibit an interest and aptitude for a career in nursing.