It takes commitment to ensure the Southside community benefits from top-notch healthcare, cutting-edge research and caring, qualified health professionals. SHEF believes this vision can easily be reality - if we support the talented students who live and work here.
By providing scholarships to deserving students from our region who are studying to enter healthcare fields, we can help make their career dreams reality - enabling them to pursue careers here, in their own backyard. SHEF supports the students who live and work in Southside. Successful students access better jobs and pursue careers in the community. Newly-trained health professionals attain economic stability for their families. The region's healthcare employers meet their personnel requirements with a staff committed to the area. With a strong healthcare workforce and economic vitality, everyone wins.
The statistics paint a picture of a community in need. More than a quarter of the residents of Southside Virginia do not have a high school degree. Just 10 percent of residents hold a bachelor's degree. In Petersburg alone, annual per capita income is only $22,903 for 2016, with a state average of $42,654. That is where SHEF comes in. Because many well paid healthcare jobs only require a high school degree and post-secondary training, we can make a large impact by offering scholarships.
One-by-one, we match area students who have the drive and talent for a career in health with the scholarships they need to pursue the education they deserve.
One out of every ten emerging jobs in Virginia is in the health sector, according to 2010 findings of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. And with predictions from the U.S. Census Bureau that Virginia's population will increase by 12.6 percent by 2020, having a stable, well-staffed health system will be more important than ever. With the right training and education, residents may be able to more than double their earning potential, thus increasing the economic vitality of the entire region.
SHEF is building a workforce. In Southside Virginia, careers in healthcare may be just the ticket for many residents who wish to have more rewarding jobs and higher wages. The growth is there - over the last 15 years, employment in the Southside health sector has increased by 41.3 percent. The wages are there, too. Per capita income for Petersburg is $15,989 annually, while the average area wage for a position in the health sector is $37,965.
There's a lot at stake for the Southside Virginia region. Current health indicators for the region demonstrate the great need we have for quality healthcare. Increasing the pool of qualified healthcare workers in our region will ultimately boost residents' access to the high-quality care they desperately need.
In its first five years, SHEF provided well over $400,000 in scholarships to 162 area students with the ambition to better their lives. In addition to supporting nursing students, we've launched scholarships for students pursuing coursework in allied health professions including radiology technology and sonography.