unity health and jhs partnership

Academies of Central Arkansas Announces Business Partnership 

Unity Health Partners with Jacksonville High School

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 8, 2023) – The Academies of Central Arkansas announced today the establishment of the Unity Health Academy of Health Sciences at Jacksonville High School. This partnership between Unity Health, Jacksonville High School and the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is the core foundation for the Academies model of teaching and learning being implemented in public high schools throughout Pulaski County, better known as the Academies of Central Arkansas.

Students in the Unity Health Academy of Health Sciences will benefit from enhanced learning opportunities throughout their four years at Jacksonville High School. Students in freshman seminar will have several opportunities for career exploration that include hearing guest speakers from local business and industry leaders, and participating in the annual career exposure event, where Unity Health, and several other central Arkansas businesses, will be participating in this hands-on event for all ninth graders.

"Unity Health is thrilled to engage in this partnership and accelerate education in healthcare for our local high school students,” Mark Amox, Unity Health President and CEO said. “We believe this venture will provide invaluable opportunities for students to grow, setting them up for future success.”

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, students will participate in industry field trips, job shadowing, career mentoring, mock interviewing, and potential internship or externship opportunities because of this partnership with Unity Health. Nearing graduation from the Unity Health Academy of Health Sciences, scholars will have opportunities to earn concurrent credit, industry recognized credentials, and will create a capstone project co-developed by the team at Unity Health and the faculty at Jacksonville High School.

“As we continue to invest in the Jacksonville community, this opportunity allows us to encourage and educate future healthcare professionals,” Kevin Burton, Unity Health – Jacksonville Administrator said. “With these unique educational experiences, we can be certain our young people will be equipped to become outstanding associates in healthcare careers. A future in healthcare offers great benefits and job security in a purposeful and fulfilling career.”  

The Academies of Central Arkansas is a joint initiative of the four public school districts across Pulaski County and the regional business community. In 2019, the Jacksonville North Pulaski, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special School Districts, together with the five Pulaski County chambers of commerce and business and civic leaders, began implementing high school academies within all public high schools in the county, serving all students.

“We are thrilled about the real-life, hands-on learning experiences the new Unity Health Academy of Health Sciences will provide for student scholars at Jacksonville High School,” said Little Rock Regional Chamber President & CEO, Jay Chesshir. “This business and education partnership will provide every scholar the opportunity to graduate more prepared for college, career, and life. Unity Health and Jacksonville High School leaders understand that meaningful educational partnerships are critical to our region’s long-term success.”  

Jacksonville North Pulaski School District Superintendent, Dr. Jeremy Owoh, said “I am excited about our partnership with Unity Health! We know that our local and regional businesses, such as Unity Health, need a workforce that is both knowledgeable and prepared. This partnership will afford our scholars in making meaningful connections with our local health provider and will encourage them in not only making important career and educational choices, but also ensuring that they are prepared for these opportunities.  This partnership will also benefit Unity Health and aid in their recruitment efforts.  Partnerships, such as this one, will bring educational and professional resources to our schools that enhance our ability to provide quality educational experiences for all of our scholars and that will have long-lasting impact on their lives.

“Because we know the medical field is a high demand area, we are excited about the opportunity to partner with Unity Health,” said Jacksonville High School Principal, LaGail Biggs. “It increases scholar options for college and career. This partnership will provide exposure to real life industry standards, the skills required to gain the appropriate certifications, and most importantly grow our own talent to work here in the city of Jacksonville at Unity Health.”

Implementation of the Academies of Central Arkansas will take several years to fully build out. Once completed, this educational approach will help transform high schools for all students within the four school districts. The Little Rock Regional Chamber is still actively recruiting business partners for all Academy high schools. Businesses interested in getting more information can reach out to the chamber directly or visit www.academiesofcentralarkansas.org.

About Academies of Central Arkansas
The Academies of Central Arkansas is an initiative of the Little Rock Regional Chamber and utilizes the Academies model of teaching and learning. It is being implemented wall-to-wall within all four public school districts in Pulaski County. The model transforms the public high school experience by blending core academics with career and technical education. Students see relevance and better engage with their math, science, English, and social studies when taught through the lens of an occupation or industry theme that interests them. This model connects students’ learning with real world applications, preparing them not only for college, but for career and life. For more info visit www.academiesofcentralarkansas.org.

About Unity Health
Unity Health is an Arkansas healthcare system consisting of 4 hospitals, 13 family practice clinics, and specialists and specialty clinics consisting of 15 areas of practice including: Unity Health - Cardiology Clinic, Unity Health - Orthopaedic and Spine Center, the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation, as well as inpatient and outpatient behavioral health.

As the leading healthcare provider and largest employer in an eight-county area, Unity Health and its more than 2,300 associates strive to improve the quality of health and well-being for the communities they serve through compassionate care. Unity Health has more than 150 physicians that specialize in various areas of healthcare.

About Jacksonville High School
The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is a district where traditional values meet innovative programs. Established in June 2016, the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District serves more than 4,200 scholars in grades PreK-12. Each teacher, administrator and staff member is behind our mission to ”foster a culture of ownership and accountability through partnerships that create multiple pathways for success.”