Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating $26 million to the Atrium Health Foundation to support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as it develops curriculum to prepare students for health care jobs.
This follows a $29.5 million grant last month to Duke Health, Durham Technical Community College and Durham Public Schools for a similar program
The program includes launching an early college program to integrate health care courses with a “high-quality, well-rounded high school experience” for Charlotte students, according to an Atrium press release. Hawthorne Academy is part of a $250 million initiative led by former New York Mayor and billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg with plans for similar programs in Durham and nine other U.S. communities, eventually serving 6,000 students.
Atrium said the program will include direct work experiences as nurses, nursing assistant, radiologic technologists and other jobs.
“For too long, our education system has failed to prepare students for good jobs in high-growth industries,” Bloomberg says in a release. “These specialized health care high schools will prepare students for careers with opportunities for growth and advancement.”
The city of Charlotte and the Mecklenburg County region are projected to have more than 60,000 open clinical health care positions through 2027. Atrium is the county’s largest employer.
Hawthorne Academy is expected to move to a new Second Ward high school in uptown Charlotte, within walking distance of Atrium Health’s Carolinas College of Health Sciences and the Charlotte-campus of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The Bloomberg grant will support start-up costs, including teachers and building renovations.
In Durham, an early college high school is planned at Durham Tech with plans for a fall 2025 opening.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles endorsed Bloomberg during the billionaire’s brief campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
Atrium is part of Charlotte-based Advocate Health, the third-largest nonprofit hospital system in the U.S. with 155,000 employees, 68 hospitals and more than 1,000 care locations.