Rural communities face a paradox related to healthcare.  On the one hand, kids and their families often complain of the lack of employment opportunities in local communities.  On the other hand, area businesses and government healthcare agencies cannot find qualified personnel to meet an ever increasing number of job openings. Explore HCC is supported by a broad cross-section of business, government, non-profit and academic organizations to address this paradox by making students aware of healthcare career opportunities and the requirements needed to fulfil them. An added benefit of EXPLORE HCC is that all students and the community as a whole increase their Health Literacy through student participation in the workshops.

Sonora, CA

All businesses throughout the Sierra Nevada California Foothill communities face a growing need for a health literate workforce and strong, stable healthcare provider networks. By encouraging Healthcare Career development of Tuolumne County youth, the benefits to Tuolumne County businesses are many.

  1. The development of a trained healthcare workforce to fill the more than 250 healthcare positions now available in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.
  2. The ability for area businesses to insure adequate healthcare availability for their employees and families.
  3. The development of a better informed and more health literate employee population thereby limiting the increasing costs of business employee and individual healthcare.
  4. The generation of an estimated $10.0M in additional revenue and related spending accruing to county businesses through those who fill available healthcare positions.
Health Care Reform

One of the great challenges facing rural communities is the ever increasing cost of providing  services with a declining tax base due to loss of employment. Many rural communities are  faced with fewer individuals remaining due to the need to seek employment necessary to  support a family. This has long-term implications in terms of economies of scale for supporting community  services. To address this concern, it is incumbent on government to support awareness of  employment opportunity and facilitate adequate training to accomplish the long-term goal of a  stable community. It is conservatively estimated that more than 200 healthcare career positions remain  unfilled due to the lack of trained personnel. Assuming an average annual income of $40K per  job this results in a loss to the tax base of $8.0MM with a multiplier effect of several times this  estimate. EXPLORE HCC brings awareness to students a time when they are still able to consider  a career that would help close the gap in employment needs for the community.

Sacramento City Hall
Prop 63 Mental Health Services Act California Logo
Tuolumne County Public Health and Behavioral Health Logo

Educators at all levels are challenged to present curriculum that meet state and national standards while providing relevance to career opportunity for students. This demand is being met by providing Pathways to Career programs in area high schools. One such program is designed to address the existing and growing demand for healthcare professionals. EXPLORE HCC supports these initiatives by stimulating interest in student health literacy and career opportunity in healthcare through career opportunity awareness prior to students selecting a high school course of study. Data collected from 7 th – 9 th grade students who attended EXPLORE HCC reflect a 30% increase in the percentage of students interested in pursuing a healthcare career following their participation in EXPLORE HCC. This response enables educators at all levels to begin establishing adequate availability to Healthcare Career Pathway programs that will meet the growing demand for trained professionals.


“Teach the Children” is the core motto of EXPLORE HCC in our effort to enhance Health Literacy in our communities. Growth and change are an integral part of adolescence. Studies on the brain during the last decade show that it — along with height, weight and hormones — goes through dramatic changes during the middle school years. While outward changes are easy to see, brain development goes much deeper, but it can go far in explaining how and why a child does what they do. Research has now shown that the area of brain growth during adolescence centers on the frontal lobe. This is the control center for “executive functions” such as planning, impulse control, and reasoning. It is the period of time when adolescents are moving from concrete to abstract thinking and to the beginnings of metacognition (the active monitoring and regulation of thinking processes). The more engaged and “rich” the new information provided to these kids, the more likely it is that the new information will be retained. EXPLORE HCC provides students with hands-on, fun, and engaging activities to stimulate interest and create memorable experiences to enable students to expand their health literacy and interest in careers in the medical industry.

“Tell Me and I Will Forget. Show Me and I May Remember, Involve Me and I Will Understand.”
Chinese Proverb

Non-profit partner organizations play a major role in supporting the programs of HealthLitNow. We want to thank the Sonora Area Foundation and Mother Lode Job Training for their fantastic support offered for EXPLORE HCC.

Mother Lode Job Training Logo
Sonora Area Foundation Logo
Economic Prosperity Council of Tuolumne County Logo
Explore HCC Program Volunteers

EXPLORE HCC is a volunteer supported organization. There are now more than 30 community volunteers that devote their time and energy to provide the workshop programs to the students in our schools.

  • Anne Burleigh Jacobs
  • Miriam Perry
  • Kathi Joye
  • Sunny Enos
  • Kristina Herrera
  • Elizabeth Ramos
  • Michelle Carlson
  • Kristi Conforti
  • Tia Anderson
  • Petra Henderson
  • Steven Grolle
  • Logan Ainger
  • Jamie Lindsey
  • Martha Stolp
  • Charlene Dambacher
  • Glen White
  • Jay Gehl
  • Marsha Gehl
  • Lorena Arellano
  • Dave Fairfield
  • Anna Lopez
  • Nancy Moses
  • Stacey Hoffmann
  • Todd Stolp
  • Barry Hillman