Rush Medical, Chicago Public Schools Pilot New Career Exploration Event for Health Sciences

As part of EdSystems’ Health Sciences Career Exploration and Career Development Experience Pilot, Rush Education and Career Hub (REACH) together with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) piloted a new Career Exploration event on May 12, 2022, at Malcolm X College.

More than 280 middle and high school students from ten schools took time out of their school day to explore career opportunities in the health sciences industry. Attendees were able to engage in hands-on STEM/Healthcare activities as well as speak directly with healthcare professionals as well as University of Illinois Chicago and City Colleges of Chicago representatives as they rotated through numerous stations including entrepreneurship in health sciences, exploring the heart rate, health sciences technology, robotics, vitals, genetic coding, health sciences careers, and more. High school attendees also participated in a career panel that reflected the opportunities included on the Model Pathway. Based on the pilot, REACH plans to move forward with a two-day Career Exploration event in Fall 2022 that will be open to students’ family members as well as students. Their learnings are also informing plans for similar events in the two other pilot sites of Plainfield and East St. Louis communities and EdSystems will capture the pilots’ Career Development Experience models for the I-WIN Resource Hub.

What sets this career exploration event apart?

A multi-generational approach. This event was designed to include both middle and high school students. Additionally, parents were strategically invited to chaperone the event to further expand access. This approach will be expanded further in the fall.

A targeted invitation to underrepresented students. REACH included Options Schools in their recruitment, inviting students who are no longer enrolled in a traditional high school and seeking an alternative pathway to graduation.

Connecting career exploration back to Model Programs of Study. REACH provided high school attendees with copies of the Model Programs of Study for Health Sciences and Technology diagrams and walked students through how their course selections in secondary and postsecondary can lead to high-quality, in-demand health care careers.

What did students think?

Roughly half of all the students who responded to the event survey indicated they are interested in a STEM/healthcare career. When asked what they like about the event, students replied:

  • “[The event] helped me realize what I could be capable of in different fields.”
  • “It opened my eyes to a lot of possible future careers.”
  • “Learning about medicine.”
  • “Being able to ask questions about all the different careers.”
  • “Learning about all the different types of technology [in health scare] and the drone demo.”
  • “Mostly everything, all the activities and presentation were great.”
  • “All the cool careers.”

About the Pilot

The Health Sciences Career Exploration and Career Development Experience Pilot project is designed to support healthcare workforce development in the State of Illinois. With funding from the Telligen Community Initiative, this project’s goal is to create targeted resources and supports to raise awareness of career opportunities in the Health Sciences sector and the pathways available to enter the field.

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