A local clinic will soon provide training opportunities for those in Merced County looking to get into the medical field.
"You don't have to go to Fresno anymore, you don't have to go through Modesto, everything we're trying to do is to promote this county," said Prapai Wanlarbkam, spokesman for Horisons Unlimited Health Care.
The clinic, which has facilities in Gustine, Livingston and Los Banos, has been approved to open a school of medicine in Merced that will offer six-month courses to become medical or dental assistants. Wanlarbkam, who spoke at Wednesday's Community Resource Council meeting, said Horison has partnered with a church, which will provide the facility where the school will be located.
The school will open in about a month, Wanlarbkam said. He said the courses will include two months of classroom work and four months of practice inside Horisons's clinics.
Wanlarbkam said although Horisons is using the Merced County Department of Workforce Investment to recruit students, he wants people to know the course work is not easy.
"You have to pass the tests, the class work is really hard," he said. "It takes a student about six weeks to get qualified for the program. You can't just go to Worknet and put down $4,500."
Horisons Unlimited Health Care, a Christian-based nonprofit, opened its Los Banos clinic in February of 2010. It offers obstetrics and pediatric care, podiatry, annual physicals, diabetes and weight loss programs.
Wanlarbkam said Horisons wants to become more visible in Los Banos as an option for medical care.
"We're excited to be part of the community. We want to make sure folks know we're here," he said.
Vicky Solis, a supervisor with the Merced County Office of Education Head Start program, said she'd previously been made aware of the clinic.
"I've heard really good things from our parents at Head Start about the services the clinic provides," Solis said.