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STC & Boys & Girls Club of McAllen Provide Free EKG Certification to High School Students

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Fifteen high school students from the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen have received the opportunity to pursue an EKG certification class at no cost at STC this summer. This opportunity will allow them to earn a credential and step into the healthcare workforce before they graduate high school. Image courtesy of STC
Fifteen high school students from the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen have received the opportunity to pursue an EKG certification class at no cost at STC this summer. This opportunity will allow them to earn a credential and step into the healthcare workforce before they graduate high school. Image courtesy of STC
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By Selene Rodriguez

South Texas College and the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen have teamed up to invest in the future of health care by offering high school juniors and seniors a unique opportunity to earn an electrocardiogram (EKG) certification this summer at no cost. 

This initiative aims to empower young aspiring medical professionals with a valuable jumpstart that will allow them to enter the field before they even head off to college.

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“Boys & Girls Clubs are committed to our mission of enabling all young people to reach their full potential, and one way to accomplish that is through our teen workforce development program,” said Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen and STC Trustee. “Breaking the cycle of poverty for our people is the responsibility of all of us, including nonprofits and the workplace. This partnership represents more than career exploration, we’re creating opportunities to graduate from high school and step into an in-demand health care career.”

Image courtesy of STC

Provided with a $1,500 scholarship, 15 students from various schools, such as McAllen High School, Valley View High School and McAllen Memorial High School, have recently embarked on a 16-week college-level course at STC’s Nursing and Allied Health campus. 

Throughout the program, they will train in comprehensive studies of the heart, learn how to operate EKG machines, interpret EKG strips and become eligible to be nationally recognized as EKG Technicians.

With an average wage ranging from $20-25 an hour, Olivia De La Rosa, STC’s dean for Continuing Education, Workforce Training and Economic Development, highlighted that this opportunity not only unlocks pathways to the workforce, but also is the first step in their college journey. 

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“This is one of our most demanded non-credit courses at STC. We offer it at least twice a year because it’s a high-demand skill that can lead to a high-paying career,” she explained. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our youth, especially when it’s provided at no cost. Not only can they start in the workforce, but it can also earn them college credits should they choose to enroll in STC’s Patient Care Technician program.”

For Donna Grimaldo, an incoming senior at IDEA Quest, this marks the first step in exploring all the opportunities the health care field has to offer. 

“I have always been interested in the medical field. I want to continue exploring and figuring out what I enjoy the most, but I know my future lies in health care,” she said. “For sure, I know I want to engage with patients and make a difference in their lives.”

With an initial dream of pursuing general medicine, Grimaldo has found this first step fascinating and is excited to seek employment as an EKG Technician upon graduating from high school next year. 

“We have already learned so much. It has been fascinating to learn about the heart and how it works,” she added. “Seeing everything that STC has to offer has been astonishing as well. I have toured other schools in the area and nobody has the technology and resources that STC has.”

Scheduled to complete the course by mid-July, the students will take the certification test through the National Healthcareer Association, paving the way for additional credentials and further education.

“I can already see the passion and dedication in all of them, and I’m confident they’ll all earn their certification,” remarked STC Instructor Anita Toral. “They’ve shown remarkable progress in just a few days, despite starting with little knowledge. This is our youth, and witnessing their growth is truly heartening. We’re investing in their future.”

For more information on STC’s Continuing Education programs, visit southtexascollege.edu/cpit/ or call 956-872-3585.

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