Is dentistry a health career? This question and many others were asked on October 17 at the MPS Health Career Expo hosted at North Division High School. Nearly 500 students had the chance to speak to nurses, emergency personnel, laboratory workers, dental professionals, and more to learn about the wide variety of health care careers available. Seventh- and eighth-grade students from Benjamin Franklin, Clarke Street, Andrew S. Douglas, Lafollette, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended the expo in the morning, and high school students from North Division attended in the afternoon.
To facilitate the students’ curiosity and learning, they were given a card with five prompt questions to ask each health career presenter. Kemora Momon and Jimmy Townsend, two eighth-grade students from Clarke Street School, used these questions to learn about working as a water technician. “I found that job interesting because it can help families have clean and safe drinking water,” said Kemora. Jimmy added, “Milwaukee had a lead water issue, and this job helps the community, and I like that.”
Students also learned that not all health care careers require a four-year degree plus additional schooling after high school. A career as a respiratory therapist or dental hygienist currently requires a two-year degree.
Aaliyah Rave, a current senior at North Division, participated in a summer internship program through the Center for Healthcare Careers of SE Wisconsin, one of this year’s healthcare vendors. Last summer, Aaliyah interned at Aurora Sinai Medical Center and experienced several career paths in the hospital. She rotated through the Volunteer Service office, Gastrointestinal Lab, Post Anesthesia Care, and as a patient companion. She took part in filing, stocking supplies, transporting patients, preparing patients for exams, and working with patients on activities. Aaliyah shared, “Being a patient companion and working in the Gastrointestinal Lab really helped my communication skills and made me more comfortable around strangers.” Aaliyah is continuing her internship during her senior year and is currently exploring her options for colleges and a career track in health care.
MPS is grateful to our presenters at the Health Career Expo including Ascension, Aurora, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert, Center for Healthcare Careers, Milwaukee Fire Department, MPS School Nurses, MPS Career & Tech Education, MATC Dental, and MATC General Programs. Community health agencies participating included Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Community Advocates, Social Development Commission (SDC), Unite MKE, Milwaukee Urban League, Violence Free Zone, Milwaukee Water Commons, and Reflo.