ROUND ROCK, Texas - Round Rock ISD applied for a Texas Education Agency grant in December for the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, known as PTECH.
The program offers students the opportunity to further their education in Health Science.
"It's coming, it's coming soon, people across the district will be able to be a part of this even though it is going to be at cedar ridge again it is going to be an across the district opportunity for students," says Gloria Evans, the Career and Technical Assistant Director.
PTECH will give ninth-grade students the option of earning a level one certificate, a level two certificate, or an associate degree throughout the four years of high school, according to the Career and Technical Education Director.
"Level one certificates usually have a few courses to begin that, and they call them stackable credentials, where you would actually take the courses, you earned in your level one, those within move in and work toward your level two, so accumulating additional hours to earn level two and then also with the associates," says Sheri Bonds, the Career and Technical Education Director.
Sheri Bonds said it will take nearly 60 college hours to acquire an associate degree.
"It's quite a hefty load we know that our students will be challenged and so this is not a program for the faint of heart. This is for students who really know that going into the health and career field is what they want to do, and they want to get jump started on that earlier," says Bonds.
According to Texas Workforce Commission, employment in health care occupations will grow almost twenty percent by 2028, adding nearly 200,000 new jobs. The growth will account for more than 11 percent of the overall expected growth in Texas.
This program is in partnership Austin Community College and an industry partner is on track to add to the growing demand of health care workers.
"We will be working with ACC to help us build a cross-walk where they will be doing the high school plan and the college plan at the same time, so by that time they reach there junior year they will be able to start to work," says Evans.
According to the Texas Hospital Association, the state of Texas does not have enough health physicians to meet the health care needs of its growing population. Round Rock ISD is working to get more health care workers employed.
"We are potentially embarking a program that no one else in the state is doing, and so we are excited to bring that to our students in round rock," says Bonds