Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
New Orleans, Louisiana -- Trellis, a program of Tulane’s Cowen Institute and launched in 2020, celebrated its first graduating class in December. Trellis supports working adults in enrolling and succeeding in Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) online, project-based AA and BA degree programs. Each of Trellis’ graduates, and 90% of the Trellis student body, have tried college before but needed to stop out due to challenges like high cost of tuition, work and class schedule conflicts, or to take care of family members.
Trellis is designed for working adults to return to college and graduate with a degree that will help them advance their careers. The enrollment team works with regional employers like Ochsner Health to identify staff who need a college degree to open advancement opportunities.
Ochsner partners with Trellis as part of its commitment to workforce development and career advancement, a critical part of the health system’s Healthy State by 2030 initiative. With Ochsner acting as a catalyst, Healthy State partners aim to lift Louisiana out of the bottom of national health rankings by 2030 through clinical and non-clinical initiatives.
“Partners like Trellis allow Ochsner to help its employees gain more opportunity and lead more productive lives, a goal in making our region a healthier and better place to live for all,” said Missy Sparks, “These programs show that Ochsner is committed to our workforce, and to investing in the people who work together with our care teams to serve our patients now and into our future.”
Trellis students work full time while pursuing their college degree. SNHU coursework is self-paced and entirely online, so students build their study schedule around their work, family, and other time commitments. Students meet with their Trellis coach once a week to check on progress to goals, troubleshoot challenges, and provide motivation and accountability. Trellis also provides laptops and internet hot spots for students who need them, so technology is not a barrier to student success.
Jauna, a veteran employee in Ochsner’s Revenue Cycle department, is a recent Trellis graduate. She first learned about Trellis from her supervisor at Ochsner. Speaking at Trellis’ graduation in December, Jauna shared that “Each year my supervisor would ask me about my goals, and I always said I wanted to earn my college degree. When they finally brought Trellis as an opportunity to me, I knew this was my chance.”
Jauna believes that Trellis worked for her because she could balance being a mom, working full time, and taking care of her family, all at an affordable tuition that minimized any out-of-pocket costs and loans. She used Ochsner’s tuition reimbursement program to cover the majority of her tuition costs. Jauna worked closely with her Trellis coach to improve her technology skills, incorporate feedback from her professors, and move quickly through her AA degree. She looks forward to “applying her many years of experience and her degree in Healthcare Management to open up other positions in my department”.
Each member of Trellis’ first group of graduates completed their AA degree in under 1.5 years, a significant improvement over the Louisiana average time to AA completion of 5.1 years. Trellis is also designed for students to graduate with little to no debt so they can realize the increased earning potential of their college degree without burdensome monthly loan repayments. Nationally the average amount of student debt on AA degree completion is $20,400. Trellis’ first group of graduates finished their degrees with $500 in debt on average.
Trellis is currently expanding its employer partnerships to enroll new students. To learn more about partnering with Trellis or to express interest in applying as a student, please contact David Collier at email@example.com.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and heart transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including over 700 clinical studies. It has more than 36,000 employees and over 4,600 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 47 hospitals and more than 370 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls. In 2021, Ochsner Health treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries. As Louisiana’s top healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. To learn more, visit www.ochsner.org.
Trellis is designed to improve college graduation rates and employment outcomes for working adults across Louisiana. In New Orleans alone there are an estimated 126,000 adults who have a high school diplomat but no post-secondary degree or certificate. Additionally, over 74% of college students are non-traditional, meaning they are working while in college, did not go directly to college after high school, or are taking care of dependents while in college.
Trellis’ mission is designed to provide adults an affordable, supported, and individualized pathway to a college degree. Founded in 2020, Trellis enrolls working adults in career aligned degree programs from Southern New Hampshire University. Trellis’ unique formula of affordability, career-aligned degree programs, and 1:1 coaching is designed to improve college graduation rates and employment outcomes for students across Louisiana. To learn more, visit www.trellisnola.org.