- HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital and the Okaloosa County School District have announced a partnership to construct a health academy
- The health academy will serve as a center for high school juniors and seniors to obtain health certifications and take courses related to the healthcare profession
- Students that complete the Practical Nursing program through the health academy will have job placement opportunities through HCA Healthcare
- HCA Florida is providing the school district with a 6,375-square-foot building to host program activities
HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital and the Okaloosa County School District (OCSD) plan to launch the Health Academy of Northwest Florida.
A joint partnership between HCA Florida Fort-Walton Destin Hospital and OCSD, the Health Academy of Northwest Florida will be a program based out of the Career and Technical Education Department of OCSD. The academy will provide high school juniors and seniors interested in healthcare careers the opportunity to earn industry certifications.
The Health Academy of Northwest Florida will be housed on the campus of HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital, with the first course offered to be a two-year Practical Nursing program.
Students enrolled in the Practical Nursing program will learn the foundational principles of basic nursing and medical skills needed to provide care to patients, according to an HCA news release.
“The health and wellbeing of our community is our top priority, and this partnership allows us to address the needs of an evolving healthcare system while placing students on a successful career path,” said Zach McCluskey, CEO of HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital.
Students who complete and meet academy requirements will be given job placement possibilities within HCA Florida Healthcare. The provider is also granting students the ability to continue secondary studies if hired by an HCA Florida Healthcare facility.
“The Health Academy of Northwest Florida will allow our students to participate in a Practical Nursing program that will not only provide industry certifications in the practical nursing field but will establish a pipeline from high school to employment at local hospitals or other medical facilities,” said OCSD Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers. “We truly appreciate HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital and their vision for helping make this partnership a reality.”
As part of the cooperation, HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital will provide OCSD a 6,375 square foot space to host the academy, which early plans show will contain two classrooms and two practical laboratories, in addition to creating a talent pipeline for the healthcare industry. The new building’s construction is expected to start soon and be finished in January 2023.