Bloomberg Philanthropies invests $9.5M into DC student career training for healthcare field

A $9.5 million investment into centers focused on teaching soon-to-be high school graduates professional skills was announced Thursday by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg.

D.C.’s Advanced Technical Center (ATC) helps students to kick-start their future careers by earning college credits, industry credentials and even paid internship opportunities in cybersecurity, health information technology, and general nursing fields while still in high school.

The investment will go toward the expansion of an ATC in Ward 5, a new ATC in Ward 8 at the St. Elizabeth’s East campus in Congress Heights and a new post-high school program for recent graduates interested in the medical field, according to The American Federation of Teachers.

The ATC is an open-enrollment education center where students in D.C. public schools or public charter schools can participate in career and technical education (CTE) programs while remaining enrolled in high school, according to the center’s website.

The center started as a pilot program at Trinity Washington University in 2022, growing to a permanent location this past school year. The number of high school students taking college courses through the center has also doubled since the program began.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the investment into the new program will help “put more students on pathways to high-wage, high-demand jobs.” The high school program through the ATC will endow recent grads with professional skills in the medical field and give them the opportunity to earn college credits ahead of time.

“Mayor Bowser has long been at the forefront of education reform efforts, and Bloomberg Philanthropies is glad to help her bring this specialized healthcare program to DC students,” Mike Bloomberg said.

AFT president Randi Weingarten told WTOP that “too often these career tech (education) programs get relegated to second class status.” She said they tend to be under-resourced and outdated, despite their contribution to helping young people find “good paying jobs.”

“Preparing kids for career, college, civic participation, and life is the work of all of us,” Weingarten said. “We need to create the next generation of nurses, surgical techs, radiology techs, respiratory techs and so many more as we work to fill 4 million open national healthcare positions by 2031.”

According to data from the D.C. Department of Employment Services, there is a huge gap in the medical field. Nearly 700 nurses and other health care professionals will be needed by 2030 to fill that gap as many healthcare professionals in the District retire.

WTOP’s Sandra Jones and Emily Venezky also contributed to this report. 

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Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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