Ultimate Medical Academy Hosts Thousands of Students for First In-Person Commencement Since 2019
Nearly 12,000 graduates were recognized for their academic accomplishments in programs geared toward filling vital healthcare roles across the U.S.
Tampa, Fla. – June 6, 2022 – Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), a non-profit higher education institution with the mission of equipping and empowering students to excel in healthcare careers, recognized nearly 12,000 graduates at its commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 4 at the Yuengling Center in Tampa.
The event marked the first in-person commencement for UMA graduates since many public gatherings were postponed or made virtual during the past two years because of COVID-19. This year’s event recognized 7,973 graduates who completed or will complete their programs in 2022, and it also recognized 3,967 graduates who were scheduled to walk during the institution’s Spring 2020 commencement ceremony which was cancelled on short notice as the nation locked down in the earliest days of the pandemic. Ultimate Medical Academy held virtual ceremonies in Fall 2020 and in 2021.
In addition to graduates, thousands of family members, friends and UMA team members filled the Yuengling Center to celebrate and show their support. Those who could not attend in person still had the option of experiencing the ceremony virtually through a live online stream. Virtual options for attending commencement have been a long-standing tradition at UMA, even prior to the pandemic. In addition to offering healthcare degree and certificate programs at its main campus in Clearwater, Florida, UMA serves more than 10,000 online learners nationwide.
“Most of our students are adult learners who are making a career shift into healthcare,” said Rebecca Sarlo, Associate Vice President of Workforce Innovation and Campus Administration who oversees UMA’s Clearwater Campus. “In addition to pursuing their academic work, many are also managing family responsibilities and maintaining current jobs as they work toward something new. This is a particularly momentous achievement for them, and it’s something we should all celebrate because these learners are pursuing jobs in healthcare that will contribute to the well-being of people in our communities.”
While skilled labor is in high demand across industries, the demand is especially high in healthcare. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 16.9 million new and open healthcare positions will need filling in the decade leading up to 2030. UMA addresses that urgent need by training students for allied health positions such as patient technicians, medical office workers, pharmacy technicians, accounting experts, healthcare software security specialists and more.
“When people think of healthcare jobs, they most often think of the clinical personnel – doctors and nurses – on the front lines,” said Geordie Hyland, Executive Vice President at Ultimate Medical Academy. “Behind those essential front-line workers are the vital allied healthcare professionals – some in patient-facing roles and some working behind the scenes – who help to keep our nation’s healthcare systems and doctor’s offices running strong.”
Addressing graduates as this year’s keynote commencement speaker was Alexandra Todd, Vice President of Store Operations and Business Support for CVS Health, one of UMA’s healthcare employer-partners. Todd was instrumental in CVS’ COVID-19 pandemic response helping the organization administer 27.7% of the COVAX vaccines delivered through retail outlets, about 12% of all doses administered in the U.S. She spoke to graduates about the importance of healthcare workers, her role at CVS and the work ethic that her own mother and grandmother instilled in her early on and that still drives her today.
Although graduation marks the completion of a learner’s academic instruction, UMA proudly continues to support alumni beyond graduation. UMA partners directly with allied healthcare employers around the country to identify talent needs, and all graduates are assigned a Career Services advisor to help connect them with openings that match their qualifications, as well as assist them with resume and job interview preparation. These support services remain available to all UMA alumni as they progress in their careers.
For additional information on UMA’s 2022 Commencement, visit https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/students/commencement/. Or to learn more about UMA’s healthcare programs, visit https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/.