Career opportunities for young people in a variety of health care fields abound, both locally here in Addison County, and in other parts of our state and region and it is anticipated that these opportunities will continue to increase in the years ahead. Thus, a new and innovative partnership recently forged between Porter Medical Center and the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, represents a major step in providing Addison County students with exposure, experience and specific training to professional and technical careers in hospitals, nursing homes and other types of health care organizations. The need for professional and technical staff members in areas such as nursing, radiology, pharmacy, laboratory, physical therapy, surgical services and other areas of our hospital and nursing home is very real todayand we expect that over time, attracting these professionals to our community will only become more challenging, said Porter Medical Center President James L. Daily. We have openings today for entry level clinical positions that pay $40,000 to $50,000 per yearbut these positions are difficult to fill in todays labor marketand we feel that it is both important for Porter, and a real opportunity for local students, to partner with the Hannaford Career Center and take an active role in making something happen. What will happen is the further development of a Health Career Program that will offer classroom training to area students at the Hannaford Career Center, with on-site clinical exposure provided at Porter Hospital and Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. After gaining exposure to a variety of possible careers and some hands-on experience, students will be better prepared to continue their education in a field that isboth personally and professionally rewarding. The education and retention of a medical workforce from within the Addison County community is essential, said Lynn Coale, Director of the Hannaford Career Center. The career opportunities that will be created for our students will be extremely valuable, and will provide them with career options that will allow them to live and work right here in our community, in a rewarding job that pays well with good benefits. The partnership calls for the Hannaford Career Center to hire the instructor for the course and develop a curriculum that meets the criteria established by the Vermont State Department of Education. Further, the Center will recruit students into the program from the three sending high schools within the Centers catchment area. Porter will provide at least two staff members to serve on the advisory board for the program, provide equipment and supplies, make available at least two cooperative education placements per semester and make available guest speakers. The agreement also calls for a joint funding of the program between Porter and the Hannaford Career Center for the fist three years of the partnership.