The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 17 percent increase in the number of ophthalmic medical personnel positions by 2026, with California having the second-highest employment in the nation. This is a result of the expansion of the health industry due to a growing and aging population, large numbers of health care workers nearing retirement, the need to be cost-effective, and a lack of investment in training programs to keep pace with these trends.
Studies also point to the need for increased diversity in the allied health workforce to realize a culturally competent health care system. It is expected to be difficult to fill all of these allied health positions, including certified ophthalmic assistants (COA) and technicians (COT), since many people are not aware of the profession and there is a limited number of educational/training programs nationally.
Big Picture proposes to advance the Fox Family Foundation’s mission and goals by providing innovative learning opportunities for students who wish to pursue learning, work, and careers in the burgeoning and broad area of vision care. Our focus is three-fold.
Allow students to explore their interests in the many opportunities to work in the fields of visual impairment and vision care.
Develop a Fellows program that allows students who are making a commitment to a career in vision care to engage in an apprenticing opportunity where they develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be competent and productive in their work and lives.
Develop and promote career paths at the high school level that lead to work and postsecondary opportunities for those students with a serious in interest in pursuing employment and post-secondary opportunities in eyecare.