University to offer health certification programs

Samira Felix
News Editor  

The University of La Verne and the Inland Empire Health Plan are partnering to create the IEHP Health Career Academy under the Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Impact. The academy will be offering certification programs for nursing assistants, medical assistants and central service technicians. It is projected to begin in 2024. 

IEHP has donated $1.5 million to launch the academy. The money from this donation will be used for disposable supplies that are not covered by equipment grants and for scholarships. 

Scholarships will only be awarded to students who agree to work in the Inland Empire for at least two years after they complete their certification.

“There’s a time requirement that they give to the Inland Empire after they complete their program to make sure that they’re staying here in the Inland Empire to actually practice what they learned here instead of training folks and then having them leave to different states or whatnot, when we really do have a desperate need for the workforce here locally,” Jarrod McNaughton, chief executive officer of IEHP, said. 

McNaughton said former President Devorah Lieberman had a significant impact on the creation of the academy Brought the idea forward to him and IEHP board members. Lieberman created a healthcare roundtable to learn about the biggest needs that organizations had. 

“It was pretty clear that one of the big components was on the education front end for us to create a pipeline for future workforce,” McNaughton said. “She really had the vision for that and then approached us along with, of course, different partners across the region to actually help fund that.” 

Jessica Morales, director of Randall Lewis Center, said the program is under the center because they will be offering entrepreneurship classes to give students an opportunity to learn about owning their own business. 

“Sometimes students don’t just want to go to a hospital or get a job right away in regards to, ‘I want to work for someone,’ but rather some have and want to open up their own business,” Morales said. 

The goal for the entrepreneurship classes is to have University faculty members involved by having them teach the curriculum. 

“I hope that students are able to continue to grow and become entrepreneurs themselves and add this new skill to their learning journey so that they can use it for the future and also continue to grow in the Inland Empire region,” Morales added. 

Kathy Duncan, interim dean of the Cástulo de la Rocha College of Health and Community Well-Being, said the programs being offered are a great opportunity for students who are interested in the medical field and for students who want a part time job. 

She added that each program will take a certain amount of time and will require coursework and internship or clinical time before students are qualified to take the certification exam. 

“I’m looking forward to us being able to train these folks, have them successfully pass their certification exam and get good jobs, whether it’s full time or part time, where they’re serving this local area in the Inland Empire,” Duncan said.

Mallely Caceres, junior psychology major and ASULV senator for the College of Health, said she liked the idea of the program because the pandemic has shown a light on the need for nurses in different businesses within the medical field.  

“We’ve seen how important it is to have them,” Caceres said. “So teaching students or future nurses how to learn skills, put them into practice and create their own businesses for their own well being and the well being of others is a super great idea.” 

More information about the IEHP Health Career Academy will be available in the coming months as the plans are finalized. 

Samira Felix can be reached at samira.felix@laverne.edu.  

Samira Felix, a junior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism, is news editor for the Campus Times. She previously served as a staff writer.

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