By Mike DeNardo


READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Stormy Evening Brings In Seasonal Temperatures For Early Next Week

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Ten high school students in Camden, NJ have been given a jumpstart to medical careers, thanks to a program run by the newly-created Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden board of governors.

The seniors — five from Woodrow Wilson High School and five from Camden High — have been selected for paid apprenticeships at Cooper, Lourdes, or Virtua hospitals.

Once the school year ends, they’ll be enrolled in a medical assistant certification program at Camden County College.  A federal grant would cover tuition.

“If you get them before they graduate high school, then you can give them an apprenticeship program that gives them a window into what a health care career field would look like,” notes Rowan/Rutgers-Camden board CEO Kris Kolluri.

The curriculum is taught by the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, where Kat Royer is a program manager.

READ MORE: Inaugural Penn Relays 5K Underway At Penn Park

“It’s a huge leg up, to get their foot in the door with some of these organizations and to get an education, essentially for free,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Wilson High senior Justin Ramirez (front row center in photo) says the program is giving him a career direction.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but when this program popped up, it saved me,” he said.

Kolluri says health care will be the key to Camden’s sustainability in the 21st century, just as the phonograph (via RCA) was the key to the city’s employment in the 1920s.


MORE NEWS: Flyers Fans Return To Packed Wells Fargo Center For First Time In More Than 500 Days