Eight years ago, the Department of Radiology became the first donor to the HOPE (Health Occupations and Professions Exploration) Project, an initiative to provide career pathways education and guidance to students seeking careers in healthcare. In 2013, the project started with 120 students, and today, over 400 students participate annually. Since 2013, the HOPE Summer Internship program has had over 500 interns and is the first to recruit high school interns in the UW Health system.
The program’s growth includes new opportunities to serve more age groups. The HOPE Project now offers programs for middle school students, including field trips, internships, and career exploration events. It has also expanded its programming to high school students, now offering apprenticeships that allow students to earn college credit. College students also can participate in HOPE’s offerings through various mentorship, internship, scholarship, and apprenticeship programs. Lastly, adults can participate through an apprenticeship (Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Tech, maintenance, skilled work), short-term work experience, and scholarships.
The apprenticeship programs’ participants have been 87% people of color and 100% meeting one or more underrepresented demographics. Ninety-one percent of participants report that their apprenticeship is their first educational experience after high school.
Bridgett Willey, PhD, HOPE Project Founder said, “We’re addressing exploratory opportunities; we’re increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in health care; and we’re addressing workforce needs. I’m really happy to say we can do all of those now with this set of programs.”
Learn more about getting involved with the HOPE Project today: https://hopemadisonwi.org/get-involved/