LANCASTER, Ky. (FOX 56) — As Kentucky is battling a nursing shortage, schools across the commonwealth are looking to address the issue. One local school district has the chance to start making a difference.

To make health care education more accessible, students at Garrard County High School can now get started on medical courses before starting college, thanks to the new ‘Healthcare Jumpstart Program’ developed by UK Healthcare and BCTC.  

Once the students start college, they’ll be ahead of the game with some course credits already earned.

“This is going to be a seamless transition for our high school students to take dual credit courses here at the Area Technology Center, and then seamlessly go straight into college in a jumpstart into the nursing program or into the workforce,” said Garrard County Area Technology center principal Troy Watts.

To open the door for more students to enroll, this program cuts the worry of paying college tuition for those pre-requisite medical courses.

“I’m very grateful. It is great to be able to save money financially, also to get a head start in my college career. It’s great to hear that. Anatomy and physiology are very difficult for college students, so getting a head start is great,’ said Freshman Riley Murphy.

Garrard County was hand-picked to be the first school to get involved in the healthcare jumpstart program. Staff say it’s because the district already offers a bunch of resources when it comes to healthcare education. The opportunity comes this fall semester.

“This just creates a lot of opportunity, especially with the shortage that we have in surrounding communities with the shortage in nursing. This is a good way for them to get a head start,” said instructor Doriska Austin.

The plan is to expand this program to other Kentucky counties later on.