Healthcare 360 is an annual event organized by the Portage Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in partnership with Portage Township Schools and healthcare providers such as NorthShore. Students witnessed and learned about jobs in optometry, pharmacy, nursing, mental health, and more.
“Students were introduced to 15 different careers during this event,” said Jeff Smith, Lake Station NorthShore Site Director. “We feel it’s important to open their eyes to the fact that there are so many careers within healthcare. It’s not just doctors and nurses.”
The students talked with NorthShore experts about how to navigate finding a career in healthcare, what the day-to-day looks like, and how each job plays an important role in making a difference in the community.
“We use this event to showcase the opportunities they have, how to get advanced education, and if needed, show them one option to get training,” said Amy Parker, Business Development Manager for Portage EDC. “We believe that the students are our future. We want them to stay local, raise a family, and realize that there are great and diverse career paths right here in the Region.”
Portage EDC worked closely with the high school to find students most interested in health careers, or simply those eager to enter the job hunt. These kids then worked with NorthShore’s professionals, asking questions and even jumping at the chance to try their hands at working equipment. Some even took the challenge of removing a staple from a jelly eyeball.
“As counselors, we work to provide our students with the most innovative and hands-on approaches to gain exposure and assist with college and career planning,” said Charity Kehoe, Portage High School Counselor. “The excitement comes when students connect with an aspect of healthcare that they did not previously consider. The hands-on approach behind Healthcare 360 only enhances this level of excitement and really allows the students to get involved on a deeper level.”
Healthcare 360 also got the parents involved. During a parent night at Portage High School, parents had the opportunity to learn about the program and the experiences their kids shared. Representatives from all of the organizations involved, such as NorthShore, also answered questions and discussed volunteer opportunities, job shadowing, and more.
“Most students will report that they would like to become physicians or nurses, but Healthcare 360 gives students a bigger picture of the many fields that are a part of healthcare,” Kehoe said. “The hope is to help a student interested in healthcare find their niche, as well as show them what educational opportunities are available to help them reach that goal.”