Of all the great things that happen at BIDMC, the most satisfying to me is when we are able to help people realize their dreams and rise through the ranks of the health care and research fields.
Tonight, we held a graduation dinner for the first group of surgery tech's, ED tech's, and others who have completed their nursing degrees and will now be working in the hospital as RNs. Over two years ago, we chose employees to be sponsored in this program through a competitive process that took into account educational attainment to date, college placement test scores, and job performance. We paid for the tuition and books and fees at Mass Bay Community College, but these young folks put in the sweat equity, working after hours and on weekends. They were joined at the congratulatory dinner tonight by their friends and families, college officials, as well as their supervisors and mentors at the hospital. The special guest speaker was the Chair of our Board of Directors, Lois Silverman, who herself was the beneficiary of a similar program decades ago, when she received a $300 scholarship to attend the Beth Israel School of Nursing.
This is but one of several program that we have in place to provide career and professional advancement to people in the hospital, especially lower wage workers. These are funded out of our regular operating budget, from philanthropic donations, by a grant from The Boston Foundation, and by a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Another program is one that enables people to become surg tech's. Here, we partnered with Mass Bay to offer modified academic programs in a format that allows employees to continue to work full-time while pursuing their career-advancing education. Courses are offered at the hospital in the evenings or online, with labs taking place on weekends at college and clinical rotations on site. We provide funds to cover students' tuition and also a stipend to help them meet living expenses during the second half of the program, when their 24 hours of weekly clinical practicum require that they reduce their regular work hours.
Still another program is training people to be research administrators, a growing area in the world of academic medicine. Another we are kicking off will train people to be medical lab tech's, a tremendous growth field, as well. Yet another provides more elementary training in math and English to help people get to the level that they can participate in more advanced training.
It is, of course, greatly satisfying that people will earn more money as they move up the career ladder and have more opportunities. But what means more to me is that we are continuing in a tradition that reinforces the American Dream. Through hard work, persistence, dedication -- and a helping hand -- men and women can gain greater personal and professional satisfaction in their work and and, in turn, look back to help the next group coming through.