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Penn Medicine is launching the ASPIRE Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with La Salle University and the Howley Foundation.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

In conjunction with La Salle University and the Howley Foundation, Penn Medicine launched the ASPIRE Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The ASPIRE program, which is supported by a gift of $7.5 million from the Howley Foundation, is a program designed for high school juniors interested in pursuing a nursing career. The Penn ASPIRE program will be based on a program model first implemented by the Cleveland Clinic in 2017

Through the program, 25 ASPIRE scholars will receive interactive educational sessions, on-site exposure, and mentorship opportunities. Upon completion of the program, scholars will receive a $500 stipend and an invitation to participate in the program again during their senior year.

The ASPIRE Program seeks to promote diversity in the nursing workforce and support economic mobility. Currently, white women make up 81% of registered nurses in the United States, according to PhillyVoice.

“ASPIRE firmly aligns with Penn Medicine’s and HUP’s goals to offer pipeline opportunities for members of our community to continue cultivating an inclusive workforce and providing outstanding patient care,” Colleen Mattioni, chief nurse executive at HUP, told the Almanac

ASPIRE encourages students who may be deterred from pursuing a career in nursing due to financial or personal reasons to apply.

Beth Smith, the corporate director of nursing professional development, told the Almanac that this program will provide growth opportunities to individuals who may not have been able to receive exposure to the nursing profession in the past. 

“Those who begin nursing school may not have much experience with the field unless they’ve volunteered somewhere or perhaps [if] they have family members who are nurses,” Smith told the Almanac.

After ASPIRE scholars graduate from high school, they will be given the opportunity to matriculate with scholarship aid into La Salle University to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Scholars will also have the option to also remain part-time employees at HUP beyond graduation. 

“We are excited to see the ASPIRE Program grow over time and look forward to creating an environment where ASPIRE scholars can thrive academically and professionally,” Smith told the Almanac.

The ASPIRE Program will induct its first cohort at the beginning of 2023.