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The Grossmont Healthcare District awarded $111,100 in scholarships to 44 local high school students interested in a health care career, officials announced Tuesday.

The students come from 22 high schools in East County and were selected by school administrators for their “academic excellence and a desire to improve our world in the health care field,” the district said. Each school nominated two students, a primary recipient awarded $3,300 and secondary recipient awarded $1,650.

“I think one of the most important qualities in life is kindness,” said Mora Azimi, a scholarship recipient from Valhalla High School. “There’s no better place to give kindness to people than in health care.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2020 to 2030, around 2.6 million new jobs will be added to the health care field — 16% growth. According to the district, one of the most common reasons students dismiss health care as an option is due to the costs of study.

“As the demand for health care workers surges, we are proud to support local high school students in their pursuit of continuing education,” said Virginia Hall, GHD board president. “We hope that for the next generation of health care professionals, we can dissolve some of the stress that comes with the financial responsibility of attending a college.”

The scholarship program was established in 1999 and had given hundreds of local students individual scholarships totaling more than $1 million. It is intended to increase access to continuing education, ultimately addressing the ongoing shortage of health care workers in the region.

–City News Service, Inc.