Memphis Medical District Collaborative kicks off annual Career Launch Academy program in partnership with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
June 3, 2024

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) launched its Career Launch Academy program in collaboration with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and area schools to jumpstart high school students into healthcare careers.

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) launched its Career Launch Academy program in collaboration with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and area schools to jumpstart high school students into healthcare careers.

Hire Local’s Career Launch Academy offers rising seniors a 5-week career exploration program while graduating seniors join a six-week Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification course, soft-skills training, and job shadowing experience. After completion, students who certify will have a guaranteed interview opportunity with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. This is a paid program, all participants receive $15 an hour for their time and their tuition is free.

“It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every moment of it,” said a Career Launch Academy graduate in 2023. “I got to learn more about the healthcare industry and meet new people who share the same career goals that I do.”

Since 2022, the program has grown exponentially. The pilot program started with eight students, growing to over 40 in 2023. This year the program received hundreds of interested applicants across Memphis. Of these applicants, 74 students were selected - 30 seniors and 44 juniors representing 22 participating schools. With a majority female student group, 66% of participants identify as African-American and 26% as Latino. The program launches June 3rd and all students will complete the program by July 26th.

Participating schools include Carver High, Central High School, Compass Midtown, Cordova High School, Crosstown High School, Douglass High School, East High T-STEM Academy, Freedom Preparatory Academy High School, Germantown High School, Kipp, Memphis Collegiate High School,Kirby High School, Medical District High School, Memphis East High School, Middle College High,Mitchell High School, Oakhaven High School, Overton High, Raleigh-Egypt High, Southwind HighSchool, Trezevant High School, White Station High School, and Whitehaven High School.

“We aim to empower more young people to dream without limits,” said MMDC’s Director of Workforce Strategies, Latasha Harris. “By helping them explore in-demand careers and develop 21st-century skills, we are equipping them to turn their dreams into tangible realities.”

Memphis, like many cities across the country, needs more healthcare professionals. MMDC’s Hire Local program leverages employer, community and training partnerships to help local residents move into careers where there is a living wage, career growth opportunities, and consistent, growing demand.

"Healthcare organizations nationwide are facing workforce shortages. Partnering with MMDC on this initiative is crucial for our organization and community, as it helps solidify our workforce by encouraging youth to explore the many opportunities in healthcare, reducing youth unemployment, and supporting the development of a quality healthcare workforce,” said Dexter McKinney, director of Workforce Development for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “We've seen the positive impact of Hire Local's training programs and look forward to welcoming our next group of healthcare scholars."

Career Launch Academy would not be possible without the support of partners like Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, FedEx, AutoZone, The City of Memphis, Truist, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, The Career Academy, and participating K-12 schools, among others.

If you or your organization is interested in supporting the important work of Career Launch Academy, click here. To learn more about the program, please contact Latasha Harris, Director of Workforce Strategies, at


Emily Harris, Memphis Medical District Collaborative

Mobile: 504-319-7502

Sarah Farley, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Mobile: 601-842-6297

About Memphis Medical District Collaborative

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) is a community development organization working with anchor institutions to strengthen the connections, communities, and campuses in the Memphis Medical District so they are more vibrant, prosperous, and equitable. Learn more at

About Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has been caring for patients and families regardless of their ability to pay for more than 100 years. Guided by roots in the United Methodist Church and founded in 1918 to help meet the growing need for quality healthcare in the greater Memphis area, MLH has grown from one hospital into a comprehensive healthcare system with13,000 Associates supporting six hospitals, including nationally ranked Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, a hospice residence and physician and specialty practices serving communities across the Mid-South. From transplants and advanced heart procedures to expert neurology services and compassionate cancer care, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare offers clinical expertise with a focus on improving every life we touch.


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