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Thomas Hoffman, district vocational administrator of Mingo County Schools and principal of the Mingo Extended Learning Center, makes his request to create a medical assistant program at the MELC during the Mingo County Board of Education’s regular session Tuesday, Oct. 19.

WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Board of Education approved the creation of an adult medical assistant program at the Mingo Extended Learning Center, as well as an instructor position for said program, during their regular session Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Thomas Hoffman, the district vocational administrator of Mingo County Schools and principal of the Mingo Extended Learning Center, made the request after he said the state department suggested a medical assistant program as a replacement for medical office, which the MELC used to offer.

Hoffman said the school has about $128,000 in its account currently and more money in its local school funds. He said the school is able to fund a salary for the program for at least two years with just current money available.

“If the program becomes successful and we do have students that will count towards the FTE (full-time equivalent), the state, under their formula, they may pick up the salary later,” Hoffman said. “Right now, they said they could not do it next year, so it may two or three years down the road. If we get some students in, get some completers, they go by how many completers you’ve got in how they fund your program.”

MCBOE member John Preece asked if the program will be open to high school seniors as well. Hoffman clarified that the program is mostly exclusive to adults via self-pay or financial assistance programs.

“If you have openings, you can take up to 40% secondary students, but with medical assisting, they want them to be 18 years old or at least 18 by the time they finish the program,” Hoffman said. “Plus, when they go into a hospital setting to do their clinicals, they want them to be 18 years old.”

Preece then asked if the county can provide a discount to service personnel who might want to enroll in the program, which Hoffman said can be done.

The total tuition for completers of the program is about $5,000, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he would like to begin the program in January, but said it could take longer than that depending on how long it takes to hire someone.

All five board members unanimously voted to approve the creation of the program, plus an instructor position.

HD Media news reporter Dylan Vidovich can be contacted via email at dvidovich@hdmediallc.com.

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