According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there is a projected increase in demand for registered nurses (RNs) nationally, from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024. Additionally, there is a projected shortage of RNs 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.
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