For young adults in Colorado considering a career in health care, a new opportunity is here.
DaVita—along with seven school districts, community-based organizations and health care employers in Colorado—will work with Colorado Health Careers Collaborative this summer for a six-week pilot program known as Academy. The program aims to create equitable, health career pathways for Colorado youth.
Co-created by Arapahoe Community College and the Community College of Denver, the collaborative strives to provide seamless pathways from school to employment in health care fields for individuals aged 16 - 24.
Approximately 160 young adults are participating in this year’s pilot program, scheduled for June 13 – July 29. The six-week hybrid curriculum features an online portion Monday through Thursday, which offers virtual job shadowing. Subject matter experts from Centura Health, HealthOne and DaVita review the curriculum and provide input to participants.
As the health care community faces unprecedented staffing challenges, the program seeks to educate and encourage newcomers to the job market as they consider health care opportunities. DaVita is proud to be working with the collaborative and hopes supporting future health care professionals will not only expand the local talent pool, but also help mold young adults into the health care leaders of tomorrow.
Kristin Sayles, director of nursing services at DaVita, will serve as an expert on the patient care technician (PCT) role and hopes the experience will help participants see the numerous career tracks available within health care.
“Our goal is to open their eyes and let them know what they can look forward to,” Sayles said. “This includes what they can be a part of and the meaningful work we do; then our hope will be to bring them in, recruit them and retain them."
At DaVita, PCTs play a critical role in the lives of patients. They develop trusting relationships with patients during treatments, checking their vital signs, assessing and preparing their vascular access and connecting dialysis tubing to their access. PCTs work with patients every step of the way during their treatment.
Friday’s in-person curriculum will feature learning soft skills and preparation for job searches. This will include coaching on resume writing, cover letters and mock interviews. Participants will also spend time in school labs, where lab assistants will teach lab safety and run simulations.
The Academy curriculum also focuses on the fastest growing health occupations: nursing (LPN/RN), medical assisting, medical lab sciences (CNA/Phlebotomy) and radiologic technology.
Along with Sayles, recruiters from DaVita will join Friday sessions to present their experiences as teammates and answer questions about the PCT role.
At the end of Academy, participants gain support from career navigators to navigate higher education and find entry-level health care positions. Navigators follow up for up to two years post-program with career guidance and counseling.
Participants also have the opportunity to earn Basic Life Support (BLS) and HIPAA certifications, build a professional portfolio and receive a $500 scholarship to be deposited into their College Invest account upon completion of the program.
To help participants as well as additional Denver youth learn more about kidney care career opportunities, DaVita will host a lunch event at their Denver headquarters the first week of August. The event will provide further information about PCT roles, nephrology nursing and career growth opportunities.
“It’s wonderful for these students to have an opportunity to hopefully create awareness around roles in health care,” Sayles said. “To me the ultimate end game result is being able to educate them about DaVita and have them become future teammates.”