The greater Beloit area has a skills gap. Institutions like Beloit Health System require trained workers, but community members are not necessarily equipped for or aware of the opportunities available to them. Hendricks Family Foundation Chairman Diane Hendricks recognized this need and the Foundation founded Hendricks CareerTek in 2017 as a way to provide career education and exploration services to Beloit youth.
“My hope is that Hendricks CareerTek will fill a void for the students who aren’t aware of their personal strengths, and how those strengths can be applied for a successful future after graduation,” Hendricks said.
Fill a void for the students who aren’t aware of their personal strengths
In 2018, the Beloit Health System, Blackhawk Technical College
, and CareerTek, partnered to launch the healthcare pipeline project. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development funded the project through the Fast Forward program. “The pipeline addressed a need for healthcare workers in the region,” said Dr. Tina Salzman, CareerTek’s Business and Education Director. It offered Beloit middle and high school students hands-on experience in the healthcare field while strengthening Beloit Health System’s role in the community.
Beloit Health System Nurse Educator and Grant Coordinator Kayla Schumacher highlighted the pipeline’s role as a career-oriented supplement to traditional classroom education. “Our programs complemented classroom learning by helping students to gain valuable experiential learning in health science, which helps to prepare them for future careers as healthcare professionals.”
CareerTek has so many opportunities for young minds to take advantage of
Salzman cited a regional shortage of qualified nurses but said the pipeline covered an array of healthcare subfields. In addition to career exploration opportunities and a healthcare academy the pipeline offered CNA and Personal Care Worker certification, CPR/AED classes, a Teen Medical Program, and field trips to local healthcare institutions.
Said Salzman, the comprehensive, skills-based nature of the pipeline typified CareerTek’s overall mission: “helping greater Beloit area youth engage in the business community to have meaningful career exploration opportunities.”
“CareerTek has so many opportunities for young minds to take advantage of, and they’re all really get experiences,” says Tatiana Rodriguez, a student at Beloit Memorial High School who attained her CNA license through the healthcare pipeline. Of the program she says, “CareerTek has helped me tremendously jump start my career into the healthcare industry.”
A celebration in honor of Rodriguez and other pipeline participants took place August 17 at Beloit Memorial Hospital.