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Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization seeks money from county to continue recruiting

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Adam Siembida, a junior at General Brown High School, asked Jefferson County legislators on Tuesday night to continue to support the program that convinced him he wants to go into pharmaceutical research.

A job shadowing experience through the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization lit the fire in him.

“It was a great program and a lot of fun,” he said.

When he visited the University at Buffalo, the college counselor he saw told him that job shadowing would help his application.

“We have hundreds of experiences like that, where job shadowing experience is helping students get in where they might not have been accepted otherwise,” said Denise K. Young, executive director of the organization.

The county has given $50,000 in each of the past three years to support a pilot project in recruitment, retention and education. The Northern New York Community Foundation also contributed money, while schools and other organizations contributed in-kind services.

“This program has been an investment, and we want to look at the health care piece, but we also want to look at the economic development piece and think about our young people, or people who have been without work for a long time, having access to educational opportunities that will lead them to take high-paying jobs in our area,” she said. “We have 150 in educational programs that would not exist without this pilot program.”

The organization had strong demand for the job shadowing program. The goal was 45 students; more than 145 participated in 20 sites with different specialties. The organization attracted 13 medical educational programs to the area around Fort Drum. The goal was to help about 50 students with costs, but the organization ended up helping about 120.

“We feel that we’ve exceeded all of the goals we had, both for the patients of the community, but also for young people’s education and economic future,” said Mary E. Doohovskoy, the organization’s regional recruitment project manager.

After the presentation to the Health and Human Services Committee, Chairman James A. Nabywaniec said the legislators would consider the request as part of the budget process.

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