Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Douglass High School & Truman VA: Partners in Education
When someone says high school, what do you think of? You might think about visiting with your friends in the hall before class. Perhaps you hear the bell ring at the end of the day. For ten students from Frederick Douglass High School, they think about working for our Veterans.
Truman VA and Douglass High School have been Partners in Education since 1998. In this unique partnership, ten students spend their day learning and working at Truman VA. The classroom is located on the third floor of the medical center. Five students attend class in the morning and work in the afternoon while the other five follow the opposite routine. While in the classroom, students work on assignments independently in order to receive academic credit to graduate. Steve Pass, Douglass High School Teacher, works closely with the students from the time they come into the program to the time they graduate. "We have had so many successes and I say we, because so many people have been involved in providing these students opportunities. I feel a big thank you is due to the many VA employees who have given their time and energy to the students. Without their extra efforts, this program would not be possible,” says Mr. Pass.
In addition to learning in the classroom, these students work three hours a day, Monday through Friday, at Truman VA. Over the years, these students have worked in a number of locations including sterile processing, food service, warehouse, recreation, lab, housekeeping, occupational therapy and grounds and maintenance. This unique program provides many benefits for these students: paid job, self-esteem, work skills and, for some, medical skills.
All students who enter this program become federal employees. They follow the same process as other VA employees including paperwork, physicals and immunization records. This program is a win-win for both Douglass High School and Truman VA. This year, four students will be graduating, so more Douglass students will be given the opportunity to apply next year.
Some students decide they want to stay in healthcare and work for Truman VA after graduating. Five students who completed this program have gone on to apply and receive full-time positions with Truman VA.
Partners in Education Week is May 5-12 and Truman VA is proud to work with Frederick Douglass High School.