The Health Services Leadership (HSL) program at Simpson College received a generous gift of $15,000 per year for five years from the LCS Foundation. This grant provides scholarships, internships and professional development.
The LCS Foundation is the philanthropy arm of LCS, a leader in the field of senior living, which has been integral in launching and supporting the HSL program at Simpson.
The HSL program was launched four years ago with support from three LCS executives, Joel Nelson, president and CEO (’86), Rick Exline, EVP and managing director (‘78), and Ed Kenny, retired chairman of the board. “They not only financially supported it, but lent their expertise in developing the curriculum,” said Jacy Downey, HSL program director and assistant professor.
The program has seen rapid growth as students become aware of the wide range of careers available to them with a degree in HSL.
Initially, the LCS Foundation grant will be used primarily for internship wage assistance for students, allowing them to gain internship experience with organizations that may not otherwise be able to pay to have an intern work with them.
“Having an internship is so important for students, both to gain valuable experience and to see if the area is a good fit for them,” Downey said. “An unpaid internship can be a barrier to gaining that insight which makes this grant so important.”
Students are required to submit an application to receive the LCS Health Services Leadership Fund.
"I’ve worked in the senior living field my entire career. It’s been extremely rewarding and has provided me with many growth opportunities,” said Rick Exline, executive vice president of LCS and Simpson board member. “LCS is passionate about serving seniors and we are proud to partner with Simpson College by supporting students who are interested in learning about careers in health services.”
While LCS’s business is addressing the needs of seniors, the grant was not restricted to internships in that field.
“That’s one of the amazing things about LCS,” Downey said. “Their generous grant is not restricted to students finding internships in senior living. Their selfless intention is to expose students to a wide variety of fields in healthcare and let them decide, which opens up all kinds of opportunities.”
The first recipient of the internship assistance was Reagan Sesker ’19, who recently completed her internship with the Iowa Hospital Association. Reagan is majoring in Biology and Health Services Leadership.
“I have always had an interest in healthcare, particularly in the clinical setting, with a recent interest in the administrative side,” Reagan said. “This opportunity has allowed me to obtain hands-on experience as a working professional, as I learned about the role advocacy organizations play within the legislative system.
“Overall, this experience has provided me with a more well-rounded perspective of the healthcare industry, something that I would not have been able to obtain without the generosity of the LCS Foundation, and for that I am immensely grateful.”