ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — By 2030, there could be a shortage of up to 39,000 registered nurses in New York, according to a 2020 report by the State Department of Health. That trend is only growing post-pandemic with retirements and vaccine mandates.

In the hopes of helping to fill in the ranks, the University of Rochester School of Nursing has been hosting East High School students hoping to jump-start interest in health care.

Wednesday, UR hosted a reception for students who completed the fall 2022 program. “It’s a wonderful partnership,” said Dr. Maria Marconi with the UR School of Nursing.

Marconi said for these juniors and seniors, there are plenty of opportunities to explore. “They may be in nursing, they may pursue a local degree in nursing, they may pursue a college degree in nursing. They may start out working at one of our medical centers.

Senior Marcus Moore says nursing is a solid, stable career choice in our region. And it provides a way out. “It’s definitely important for — especially Black men like me because there are not a lot of Black men and Black staff [in] the nursing field.”

Student Mchiwa Hassan comes from a family of nurses. She said this program equals prospects. “It takes a lot of schooling to get there..l, but it will be worth it in the end.”

The superintendent of East High, Dr. Shaun Nelms, said this partnership is about creating a pipeline to prominent professions here.  “Students have to see that there viable pathways for them in this community.”

Learning about nursing also prepares these youngsters for the world as a whole. “How communities have to come together to provide resources and healing for one another,” said Nelms.

The “pathways” partnership between UR and East High started in 2018.