Columbia College, University of Missouri Health Care and Columbia Public Schools will offer scholarships to 20 Columbia Public School high-school students who graduate in May 2017.

The scholarships, funded by MU Health Care, will cover tuition and equipment for a one-year, online curriculum through Columbia College. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate as certified medical assistants (CMA).

“We are proud to partner with local educators to offer these scholarships,” said Peter Callan, director of talent acquisition at MU Health Care. “CMAs play a vital role on our health care teams. This is an excellent way to introduce a medical career path to local seniors who may not realize CMA training is a path they can take.”

CMAs are a part of the team that provides care to patients in outpatient clinics. Some of a CMA’s duties include recording patients’ medical histories, taking patients’ vital signs, preparing blood samples for lab tests and scheduling appointments.

“Columbia College is very pleased to partner with MU Health Care and Columbia Public Schools on this new program,” said Tina Dalrymple, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, nursing and health sciences program coordinator at Columbia College. “With our experience and strength in the online education realm, we believe we can truly make a difference in the trajectory of people’s lives through this program.”

Students who earn scholarships will be paid to work part-time for MU Health Care during their year of online learning. After the students graduate with their certification, they will automatically be appointed to full-time CMA positions with MU Health Care.

“This program is an amazing way for our recent graduates to gain entry into the workforce at a world-class health system,” said Peter Stiepelman, Ph.D., superintendent of Columbia Public Schools. “We’re excited to partner with employers and institutions in our community to create access to opportunities. It also has larger implications that could propel students to pursue medical careers beyond CMA in the future.”

Columbia Public School seniors graduating in 2017 are eligible to apply for the scholarships. The first step is to attend information sessions at their schools. Interested students should ask their principals or high school counselors for information about their schools’ specific information sessions.