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MAYOR MICHELLE WU, BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS, MASS GENERAL BRIGHAM, AND BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES ANNOUNCE GROUNDBREAKING PARTNERSHIP TO TRANSFORM AND EXPAND THE EDWARD M. KENNEDY ACADEMY INTO CUTTING-EDGE
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $37.8 million grant marks the largest philanthropic investment in BPS history, enabling EMK Academy to double in size, add new health career pathways, college courses and work-based learning, and offer graduates access to good-paying careers at Mass General Brigham
BOSTON -- Wednesday, January 17, 2024 -- Building on the City of Boston's commitment to early college and career-connected learning for every student, Mayor Michelle Wu today joined Superintendent Mary Skipper, Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers (EMK) School Leader Dr. Caren Walker Gregory, Mass General Brigham (MGB) President and CEO Dr. Anne Klibanski, and leaders from Bloomberg Philanthropies at Massachusetts General Hospital to announce a new partnership between the Boston Public Schools and Mass General Brigham that will expand and transform the EMK, the City’s health career-focused public high school, into a national model of career-connected learning.
The partnership is supported by a $37.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the largest philanthropic investment in the history of the Boston Public Schools. The collaboration with Mass General Brigham, the state's largest private employer, will allow EMK to double in size to 800 students, add new health career pathways in surgery, medical imaging, and biotech/medical lab science to complement existing pathways in nursing and emergency services, and offer work-based learning, summer and after-school placements, and career counseling to every student. Graduates will have the opportunity to pursue higher education or graduate straight into a well-paying career within the Mass General Brigham system.
"As the birthplace of public education, Boston must give our young people the world -- in the classroom, in community, and in every corner of our city. Today we take a huge step forward in our vision for every high school student to be college and career ready. With this transformational support, we are bringing the full resources of Mass General Brigham’s nation-leading teaching hospitals into a deep partnership with the Boston Public Schools," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "Leveraging the incredible resources of Boston -- our universities, our businesses, our cultural institutions, and our academic medical centers -- to support college and career-connected learning in our high schools will help our students achieve their highest aspirations. We are grateful to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Howard Wolfson, and the entire team at Bloomberg Philanthropies for their extraordinary support of the Boston Public Schools, and Dr. Anne Klibanski and the entire Mass General Brigham team for their remarkable partnership now and in the years ahead. This opportunity for our students is only possible because of the vision and leadership of Superintendent Mary Skipper, Dr. Caren Walker Gregory and their teams of committed educators. This is a game-changer for Boston."
In her State of the City Address on January 9, Mayor Wu announced several early college and career pathway expansions across the Boston Public Schools, including at the EMK, designed to ensure that all BPS high school students are ready for college and career.
"This exciting partnership allows us to build on the success of the EMK partnership with Mass General Brigham to provide our students with meaningful learning experiences that set them up for a bright future with career opportunities in Boston's world-class medical facilities and beyond," said Mary Skipper, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. "This is a prime example of the innovative work we are doing across our BPS campuses to provide each child in Boston with a rigorous academic education inside our classrooms and opportunities to learn and develop outside of class that provide a springboard for their future success. We want every student in Boston to find their passion and provide them with an educational experience that allows them to explore it, and crucial funding from partnerships like this help make that possible."
As the healthcare sector grapples with post-pandemic vacancy increases and recruiting challenges, the EMK partnership with Mass General Brigham will address workforce needs by building the pipeline of students prepared to enter high-paying health careers. MGB worked closely with BPS to develop expanded career pathways that align with the greatest areas of need and opportunity in the regional healthcare workforce. These pathways through high school will empower EMK graduates to either pursue higher education immediately or enter the healthcare workforce with a high-demand, well-paying job that fits their career interests.
"As healthcare providers continue to face persistent labor challenges, it is crucial that we develop innovative partnerships to respond to the challenges of today and invest in the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. Moreover, our work to dismantle generational health inequities depends on our ability to recruit, retain and support a diverse, culturally competent and highly skilled workforce," said Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO, Mass General Brigham. "We are deeply grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for their transformational support that will allow us to dramatically increase the impact of our proven partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, and for our continued collaboration with Mayor Wu, the City of Boston, and Boston Public Schools. We are excited about the tremendous impact this expansion will have on our current and future workforce and the surrounding community."
This partnership is part of a $250 million initiative announced today by Bloomberg Philanthropies to build partnerships between healthcare and education systems and create new health career high schools in 10 communities across the country including: Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Durham, NC; Houston, TX; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Demopolis, AL; and Northeast, TN (six locations). The schools will collectively serve nearly 6,000 students at full capacity. Bloomberg Philanthropies' investment will support school start-up costs including personnel needs and classroom and lab renovations. Additionally, this investment will support healthcare-specific work-based learning costs such as developing specialized curricula, lab materials and equipment, and stipends for work-based learning. Successful programs launched from this initiative have potential to scale across the nation and serve as sustainable, long-term models for how to address gaps in education and workforce development.
"For too long, our education system has failed to prepare students for good jobs in high-growth industries," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and 108th mayor of New York City. "By combining classroom learning with hands-on experience, these specialized health-care high schools will prepare students for careers with opportunities for growth and advancement. America needs more health care workers, and we need a stronger, larger middle-class -- and this is a way to help accomplish both goals."
Founded in 1995 by a group of community health care providers and higher education leaders committed to a more diverse and reflective health care workforce at every level, EMK is a college preparatory and vocational high school for Boston students exploring careers in health and science. With Bloomberg Philanthropies' financial support, BPS plans to double the enrollment at EMK to 800 students in grades 9-12 over the next five years. Consistent with the District's plan for high schools, EMK also intends to add a 7th and 8th grade in the later years of the expansion. In partnership with Mass General Brigham, each pathway will be designed to help students build critical thinking and specialized skills within their chosen area through a combination of traditional classroom-based learning, specialized health-oriented curriculum, and graduated work-based learning.
"EMK students are the future of the healthcare workforce in Boston, and through strengthening our partnership with Mass General Brigham, we meet the needs of their workforce and the dreams of our students," said Dr. Caren Walker Gregory, school leader of the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. "I am so proud that Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested in the urgency of healthcare by supporting the vision and mission of EMK and the Boston Public Schools."
"On behalf of the Boston School Committee, I applaud Mayor Wu, Superintendent Skipper, Dr. Walker Gregory, the committed educators at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy and the teams at Mass General Brigham and Bloomberg Philanthropies who are bringing this super exciting collaboration to life," said Jeri Robinson, Chairperson of the Boston School Committee. "We are committed to advancing a vision for high schools that prepare all our students for college and career. This is a major step forward."
In the early high school grades, work-based learning will consist of visits to hospitals, job shadowing, and participation in simulation labs. Hands-on learning will allow students to apply concepts from the classroom as they transition to deeper and more extensive work-based learning experiences, culminating in paid internships in grades 11 and 12. Students in all pathways begin their twice-weekly clinical practice in grade 11, first in specialized school-based skills lab facilities for their pathway, and then through placement at partner healthcare facilities. These more intensive work-based learning placements continue in grade 12. Many students will also participate in paid after-school and summer internship experiences focused on health careers beginning in the summer after grade 9.
Every EMK student will have the opportunity to earn 18 or more college credits at no cost to them, through dual enrollment or early college partnerships with two- and four-year higher education partners whose course offerings align with EMK’s healthcare pathways.
"By embedding college coursework and work-based learning into the high school experience of every EMK student, we know they’ll each be ready to pursue a healthcare career or take the next step in their higher education," said Dr. Ted Lombardi, Secondary Superintendent for College, Career, and Life Readiness. "This is a model that we hope to replicate across our high schools to deliver on the full promise of a Boston public education."
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on creating lasting change in five key areas: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy that advises cities around the world. In 2023, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn,YouTube, Threads, Facebook, and X.
About Mass General Brigham
Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.