With the success the Lincoln Park CommUNITY Conversations and College Career Readiness Network has had in its first year, we are excited to add a dedicated staff member to lead this work! Brandon Morris joined the team this week as the Manager of Community Engagement/College Career Readiness for Building Our Future in Kenosha County. Brandon will lead our Community Engagement and College Career Readiness Networks.
Brandon's background is in education; he worked as a long-term substitute teacher for Kenosha Unified School District. Brandon also had many collaborations with community members throughout the city to help make Kenosha a better place. He recently completed his first season as a Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic Academy. Brandon earned his Bachelor's Degree in Human Development with a Coaching Certification from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there is a projected increase in demand for registered nurses (RN's) nationally, from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024. Additionally, there is a projected shortage of RN's due to an increase of baby boomers needing medical care as they age. The AACN hopes to increase the percent of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80%, yet are currently falling short of that: only 50% of nurses are at the baccalaureate or graduate level.
This is where Building Our Future can shine a light on the community need and on partners doing this work. If a junior- or senior-level student in the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) is interested in eventually working in the medical field, taking advantage of KUSD’s coursework at Tremper or Indian Trail High Schools to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a good start. Due to the crisis and shortage of qualified workers in the healthcare field, KUSD, in partnership with Gateway Technical College, is promoting the program as part of its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that help students earn a living wage. After the 3-credit course completion, there is a $125 exam fee, which for 2018-2019, Gateway has received a grant to cover. Once completing and passing the exam, students receive their CNA certification from the state of Wisconsin and can then apply for a Youth Apprenticeship.
Froedtert South, located in Kenosha County, offers plenty of opportunities for students to visit Froedtert’s hospital and simulation center to see if a career in the medical field might be right for them. It’s an interactive opportunity with a two-hour simulation-based learning experience offered the first Monday (9 – 11 a.m.) and Friday (Noon – 2 p.m.) of every month. The session includes an overview of health care careers and provides an opportunity to learn more with a customized experience, where you can select from different activities like pharmacy phun, sounds of your body, internal organ puzzle, and more.
Froedtert South, and other healthcare providers, have opportunities for entry-level CNAs once they have completed their certification. Froedtert’s program offers flexible scheduling, a variety of departments to focus in, and basic life support training. This is great for high school students who want to get a head start in their medical career. They also currently have internship opportunities in the following areas: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Finance, Information Services and Human Resources. Thinking about career-based learning experiences now can not only ensure students are on a path to earning a living wage after high school, but can also help Kenosha County meet its need for healthcare professionals.
Call To Action
Over the years, Kenosha County has been booming in different industries. From Amazon, Uline, Jockey, Snap-on Incorporated, Froedtert South, Kenall Manufacturing and so many more; there are many opportunities in a variety of fields for individuals to get a start in. According to a recent survey done by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), the positions that companies identified as their most critical positions of need included positions like welders, maintenance repair, accountants, CNC operators, truck drivers and production planners. With multiple hospitals and health care facilities, there’s always a need for CNA’s and other positions in the health field.
What’s great about these positions is that many of them either offer training through hire or require qualifications that can easily be met through some postsecondary education at schools like Gateway Technical College that have programs for more labor intensive jobs. For example, Gateway has multiple apprenticeships where students can work for money and learn the skills they need for their career. They have a maintenance mechanic/maintenance repair apprenticeship where students over the course of four years can gain about 8,000 hours of on-the-job training with at a minimum 576 hours of paid related experience. The income outlook is between $14.50-35.27 hour salary. To be a part of this program, students have to be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be physically able to perform trade.
If a student is interested in working in the medical field where they can help those in need of care, Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) offers an incredible program to students at junior and senior level standing who want to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) by taking the courses offered at Tremper and Indian Trail. KUSD made this program available due to a crisis and shortage of qualified workers in the healthcare field, the specific requirements in the nursing program, and because KUSD wants to promote Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to help students earn a living wage. After course completion (3 credits) there is a $125 exam fee. Once completing and passing the exam, students receive their CNA certification from the state of Wisconsin and can then sign up for Youth Apprenticeship.
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