New Look Grant

Waubonsee recently received a $2,200 New Look grant to research the reasons men may choose a career in the traditionally female-dominated health information technology field, with the ultimate aim of recruiting more men into the profession.

Limitless Possibilities: Men in Health Information Careers
This grant-funded project focuses on opportunities for men in health information technology (HIT). Through professional development presentations, student information sessions and site visits, HIT career entry and advancement opportunities for men (and women) will be explained and explored.

Reasons for the Project
Few men choose a career in health information technology. We wanted to learn why men don’t readily see HIT as a career option and share career information.

Plans and Goals
In order to provide more effective, accurate guidance, career counselors need to have a realistic and thorough understanding of the HIT profession. As part of this project, we will work with a local HIT professional to develop an informational session designed to educate counselors about the daily work activities, conditions and requirements of the job while emphasizing the opportunities and advantages for men in the field. We will then provide college counselors the opportunity to tour the appropriate areas of a medical facility and experience a typical HIT work environment. 

Following the professional development activity for counselors will be an informational “lunch and learn” event for current and potential nontraditional HIT students.  Current students will be invited based on their major and course history. Male students with a declared major related to HIT will be invited, along with male students with majors in other health care fields and male students with a course history conducive to completion of an HIT degree, regardless of declared major.

The team believes that lack of knowledge about HIT combined with misperceptions about the career may be a barrier to potential nontraditional students who know they want a career in health care. This “lunch and learn” event will include a presentation by a male HIT professional followed by a session with a counselor who has attended the HIT professional development events. Students will receive a packet of career materials and study aids, and will receive help choosing the correct major code. Those students who are currently HIT majors will be encouraged to sign a pledge of intent to complete (the appropriate degree or certificate), an action encouraged by Complete College America and the Community College Completion Corps to help boost graduation and certificate completion rates, especially among part-time students.

To supplement and increase the sustainability of the improved career information available through college counselors who participate in the professional development opportunity, the team will also develop print materials and a new webpage specific to the HIT program. These materials will provide specific career information and will highlight opportunities for men in the field while focusing on aspects of the career, such as job security/availability and opportunities for advancement, that have been shown to attract men to nontraditional careers. 

Funding
This Web page was prepared pursuant to a grant from the Illinois Community College Board and is funded 100% through Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006.