Mentoring Program at Health Sciences Center expands horizons
By Cindy Foster
Some 60 Albuquerque high school students are getting a taste
of the UNM Health Sciences Center job market through a unique
The Job Mentor Program (JMP) is a project of the Albuquerque
Business Education Compact (ABEC) and operated by the City of
Albuquerque Job Training and Family Services Division. It offers
assistance and encouragement to high school students to stay
in school and graduate.
The program targets students who have been identified by school
counselors as having academic potential but who are not connected
to school and may be on the verge of dropping out.
Many times kids just dont know what is out in the
real world, said Rosemarie Sanchez, who coordinates the
program for the City of Albuquerque. Often, if their parents
didnt have the chance to explore careers or get additional
training then a student just doesnt know what is possible.
The entire idea of the program is to expand horizons,
she continued. Kids start to see what is out there and
to understand that there are resources available to them.
Informally, UNM Hospital Nurse Practitioner Kathy Lopez-Bushnell
helped high school students connect with nurses at the hospital
when she heard of the city program. She began working with the
JMP and has been impressed by the students and their dedication.
Everyone wins, she says. The students get
a taste for the real world and we find that they are
eager to be a real help in the clinic. They can really make
a difference during the day.
The results can be dramatic. Kids have gone from almost leaving
high school to honor roll grades while in college.
A lot goes on behind the scenes before teens ever show up in
the workplace. Parents and students sign compacts to participate
in JMP seminars and activities and to cooperate with JMP program
staff and worksite mentors.
Everything within the JMP system is designed to ground students
in the real job world. Not only do they have speakers and seminars
designed to explore career possibilities and what will be expected
of a student within the work place, the JMP students are also
expected to create their own career portfolio that
includes a career plan, resume and job application forms for
positions that interest them.
When a student joins the JMP they must maintain good attendance
in school and reach and maintain a C grade average or better
in order to job shadow or receive a summer job.
They also must develop and follow a study plan for their high
school classes. On the job, students must acquire 90 hours of
approved activity each semester.
There are rewards for the companies also. They receive support
from APS teachers and counselors. And, at UNM Hospitals, they
know that the JMP students may one day become permanent employees
good news in a region in need of health care workers.
I cant say enough good things about the program,
said Bushnell. Wed love to see it expand to other
areas of campus. They are good kids, and they get so excited
when they see the possibilities of the types of work they might