Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 12:16 am | A Few Clouds 62º


Partners in Education: Cottage Health System Aims to Give Students a Leg Up

The three- hospital system believes preps local youths for careers in the health services industry

[Noozhawk’s note: The Santa Barbara Partners in Education relies on its President’s Council to help expand participation opportunities in our schools. As a proud member of the President’s Council, Noozhawk is helping to promote the organization with a series of features on our fellow members and their commitment — as businesses — to public education. We hope you’ll consider joining us on the council. One in a series.]

Cottage Health System recognizes that investing in education, especially teaching students about careers in health services, is a smart business decision.

Once Cottage hires a local resident, the hospital strives to keep him or her for as long as possible to provide consistency for patients. Patricia Ryan, vice president of human resources, said the hospital benefits from having employees invested in their community because they are eager to work and help patients feel comfortable.

The three-hospital system has been a member of Santa Barbara Partners in Education as a donor since 2001, and as a teaching hospital it believes in identifying local students with an interest in health services and fostering that spark.

“We know that we are the sole provider in the community, and we take that very seriously,” Ryan said.

Cottage has donated $20,000 to Partners in Education, according to hospital spokeswoman Janet O’Neill.

Dating to 1888, Cottage is the largest hospital of its kind between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Ryan said. Today, it has branches in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez, and it employs 3,000 people. It annually cares for 19,000 admissions, 40,000 emergencies and 2,800 births at its Santa Barbara campus alone.

Among the hospital’s many services are its comprehensive child maternity service, children’s hospital, and cardiac, neurological and oncology programs. Cottage also controls Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories and the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital.

Cottage encourages student interest, whether it means taking elementary students on tours or developing programs with local universities. Hospital staff members mentor students from San Marcos High School’s Health Careers Academy, and O’Neill said Cottage pays for awards given out at the end of the year.

To aid its efforts to employ skilled, local college graduates, Cottage has formed a relationship with SBCC to develop a nursing program and a registered nurse internship. The hospital also partnered with CSU Channel Islands to develop a bachelor of science degree program this summer.

“Because of our commitment to our community, we need to help our community first,” Ryan said regarding the hospital’s preference to employ local graduates.

Cottage received 300 applications for 25 graduate program positions last February, and it decided that only applications from graduates of SBCC’s nursing program would be accepted.

Since the economic downturn in 2008, Ryan has been seeing fewer clinical specialists traveling temporarily to work at Cottage for 15-month contracts. Instead, people are opting to stay longer, leaving fewer positions available for new college graduates.

“This a bit of an anomaly,” Ryan said. “We have to continue to build the enthusiasm for health service careers among our youth.”

Any company has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25. Click here for more information about Partners in Education. Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnuson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition to Cottage Health System, current President’s Council members are ABC-CLIO, American Riviera Bank, AT&T Foundation, ATK Space Systems, Bacara Resort & Spa, Coastal Management Resources, Community West Bank, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, Earl Warren Showgrounds, ExxonMobil, Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, QAD, Rabobank, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Axxess, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Catering Co., Maryan and Richard Schall, Southern California Edison, Venoco Inc. and Verizon.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne will be a junior at Chapman University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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