Northwell Health, New York City Public Schools Announce Innovative Healthcare High School to Address Local Healthcare Workforce Shortages with Support from Bloomberg Philanthropies

  • Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2024 Updated: Thu Feb 15, 2024

New York City joins Bloomberg Philanthropies first-of-its-kind initiative that connects students to job opportunities with family-sustaining wages in 10 communities across the U.S.

New York, New York – February 14, 2024 — Northwell Health and New York City Public Schools announced today an unprecedented partnership to design a career-focused high school that will help prepare students for well-paying careers in healthcare and address local education and healthcare talent needs. The Northwell School of Health Sciences will fully integrate healthcare career knowledge and job training with a high-quality, well-rounded high school experience for students in New York, graduating students directly into high-demand healthcare jobs with family-sustaining wages. The school in Woodside, Queens which will open in the fall of 2025 and serve approximately 900 students at capacity, is part of a first-of-its-kind $250 million initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies that is connecting healthcare and education systems to create new career-connected learning high schools in 10 urban and rural communities across the country in locations including: Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Durham, NC; Houston, TX; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; Demopolis, AL and Northeast TN (six locations) The schools will collectively serve nearly 6,000 students at full capacity.

Supported by an $24.9M investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Northwell Health, and New York City Public Schools will co-develop the high school curriculum, which will offer robust academic programming, specialized healthcare classes, work-based learning, and the opportunity to earn industry-valued credentials and certifications along with traditional high school learning and diplomas. As Northwell is the largest private employer in New York State, this initiative will create high schools offering students an opportunity to gain direct work experience and access to attractive jobs with Northwell immediately following graduation. This includes nursing, diagnostic medicine (including lab technician & technologists), physical therapy, and behavioral health (including social work). These pathways were selected based on the availability of entry-level salaries that either offer a living wage or are a clear steppingstone to living wage positions, growth opportunities within each position, student areas of interest, and projected workforce needs at Northwell and in the broader New York health system.

“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."

“New York City public schools are training our young people today for the jobs of tomorrow,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Healthcare workers showed us, especially during the pandemic, that not all heroes were capes, many wear scrubs. Thank you to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Northwell Health, and the Department of Education for investing $25 million to create a brand new pipeline in Woodside for 900 public school students to enter the workforce, save lives, and become the next generation of healthcare heroes.”

New York City is home to both the largest public healthcare system and the largest school district in the U.S. The city has 750,000+ healthcare workers, and the sector represents 20% of the city's economy; each year the district educates approximately 900,000 students across its five boroughs. New York is projected to face a shortage of almost 40,000 nurses by 2030. To keep its economy strong, and to ensure New Yorkers have access to high quality healthcare and living wage jobs, the city needs innovative, integrated solutions linking education to strong workforce outcomes.

 “We are very grateful for this opportunity to work with Bloomberg and our partners in the New York City Department of Education,” said Michael Dowling, President, and CEO of Northwell. “What we plan to build together in Queens is bigger than just one school – it’s a visionary collaboration to improve public health and promote health equity in this city and beyond. This is a new model for education that will create a better future for thousands of students and make a lasting impact on the future of healthcare for countless more. As the largest healthcare provider and private employer in New York, Northwell remains committed to attracting and preparing more students for careers in healthcare that we need now and for our future.”

"It is paramount that we give our young people the bright starts that will lead them to bold futures, and this new school is a consummate example of reimagining the student experience,” said David C. Banks, Chancellor, New York City Public Schools. “This venture is a tremendous example of the way that public-private partnerships bridge gaps and build gateways to opportunity for our young people. New York City Public Schools continues to grow stronger as we stand with industry partners who share a collective groundbreaking vision, and fearless conviction. We are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for their support in this effort.”

The Northwell School of Health Sciences will give every student the opportunity to receive industry-standard training, credentials, and college credits toward entry-level healthcare credentials and jobs, take advantage of industry-standard training facilities, and engage in career mentorship and co-teaching from one of New York City’s premier healthcare providers as part of this innovative partnership. New York City Public Schools envisions that the unique design of this high school will lead to system-wide improvements in healthcare-specific programming. This includes the development of a brand new pathway for New York State with Behavioral Health, serving as a training ground for healthcare-focused school leaders, counselors, and teachers, as well as provide a training hub for students across the city to use state of the art technology and join for events.

Northwell Health was the first anchor employer partner for New York City Public Schools in support of FutureReadyNYC. FutureReadyNYC is a reimagined high school experience where across every grade, students get access to work-based learning (including paid experiences in upper grades), early college credit, and industry credentials in high-wage, high-demand industries and support to build a strong postsecondary plan to accelerate their success and path to rewarding careers and economic security. As a part of their anchor partnership, Northwell is committed to providing career exposure, project-based learning, and paid-internships to students at four schools. Northwell representatives also chair the healthcare Pathways Advisory Commission, supporting New York City Public Schools in building curriculum and program design across the city.

“At New York City Public Schools, we are building pathways to success for the amazing talent that we see in our students daily," said Jade Grieve, Chief of Student Pathways. “This school is just the beginning of the kind of pioneering program offerings we support for our young people as they align passion and purpose. This venture builds on the success of FutureReadyNYC, and our strong partnership with Northwell Health. High growth careers are within reach for our youngest New Yorkers, and early exposure to career connected learning is how we create equitable pipelines to economic security.”

“Every single new school provides the opportunity to empower and shape the futures of the next generation of our nation’s leaders,” said Dr. Shawn Rux, Senior Executive Director of the Office of New School Development & Design. “We are not just constructing new buildings; we are creating environments that foster growth and innovation. Schools like this serve as educational hubs that give young people the tools to build a more informed and inclusive world.” 

“New York City will greatly benefit from this sustained and meaningful partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Northwell Health, in service of creating bold futures for young people,” said Stephen Cockrell, CEO of the Fund for Public Schools. “The Fund is thrilled to facilitate development of this innovative model that will provide students with meaningful career-connected learning and future opportunities.”

"I felt inspired and empowered after my internship," said Ayannah Fernandez, a graduate of the High School of Health Professions and Human Services. "The opportunity to see a successful spinal surgery and birth focused my goal of becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist and a future leader in healthcare who understands the value of educational opportunities for young people."

Northwell remains committed to education. It invests $5 million a year in its Northwell Community Scholars Program, in which students in seven economically disadvantaged, underrepresented school districts receive mentorship, college preparation, career guidance, shadowing and internship opportunities and financial support to pursue associate degrees or certificates at area community colleges.  Other initiatives include ambassador programs, numerous medical school pipeline programs and a 10-week management internship for college juniors to gain exposure to healthcare administration and leadership.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment will support school start-up costs including personnel needs, classroom and lab renovations, and other work-based learning requirements. The Northwell School of Health Sciences will be specifically designed to provide traditional academic courses based on state graduation requirements, as well as specialized healthcare classes taught with support from Northwell Health guest-lecturers using the co-designed curricula. Students will also engage in immersive work-based learning at Northwell. In ninth and 10th grades, students will participate in job-shadowing and practice their skills in cutting edge simulation labs. Starting in 11th grade, students will have access to paid clinical internships and professional mentoring, among other work-based learning experiences. High schools will also offer well-rounded, co-curricular programs based on local interest including but not limited to arts, physical education and affinity group activities.

“The SCA is proud to be building a state-of-the-art facility on Northern Boulevard that will house this incredible new school,” SCA President and CEO, Nina Kubota said. “It’s one of the largest projects in the SCA’s history and will address one of our biggest needs, adding high school seats in Queens. Building spaces to allow for the fostering of this type of hands-on and transformative learning is at the core of the SCA’s mission to provide the resources our students need to learn and grow.”