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MATC, MPS’ North Division High School Launch Nursing Assistant Partnership
MAWIB, other area organizations fund innovative initiative

August 13, 2013

Twelve North Division High School students will earn three college-level credits through an innovative partnership between Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Public Schools’ North Division High School, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) and a number of area organizations. 

The students, who will be juniors and seniors in the 2013-2014 academic year, attended classes at MATC from July 9-29. Following the three weeks of classroom instruction, they will have a two-week clinical experience at the City of Milwaukee Health Department. The students will work at Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics and health fairs, and in other settings to obtain hands-on experience essential to the nursing assistant profession. 

“By participating in this nursing assistant partnership, the students have an incredible advantage to get a head start on a career while still in high school,” said MATC School of Health Sciences Dean Dessie Levy. “A nursing assistant is the foundation for so many healthcare professions.”


Hands-on experience was an important component of the summer nursing assistant course.

“North Division High School has a strong historical legacy of nursing and medical programming and this partnership helps offer that outstanding opportunity to a new generation,” North Division Principal Stanley McWilliams said. 

The school is looking to further grow nursing and medical opportunities, joining similar programs at MPS’ James Madison Academic Campus and Riverside University High School. 

“The program is of tremendous value to our students who get a unique opportunity to explore the Health Science career pathway in a way that most high school students cannot,” MPS Career and Technical Education Coordinator Eric Radomski said. “Beyond earning the Nursing Assistant credits, the related work is real-world, hands-on experience that can’t be substituted for in a classroom. It’s a great first step in trying out a career in a high-demand industry and finding out for themselves firsthand if it might be a good fit.” 

On a recent visit to the classroom, MATC instructor Josie Veal was reviewing the students’ work on changing an occupied hospital bed, ambulating and bathing patients. Students practiced on mannequins, their fellow students and teachers from North Division High School. 

For the students who intend to pursue a career in healthcare, the program gives them a head start on their future.

KeeKee Phillips, who will be a junior this fall at North Division, intends to follow several family members who work in the healthcare industry. “I appreciate that the program is saving me time and money and is giving me hands-on experience,” she said.

Even for those who are uncertain about their future career plans, the program gives them a unique way to spend the summer. “I would have been visiting family in Arkansas this summer,” said Greg Johnson, who will begin his junior year this fall.

“I’m not sure if I want to go into healthcare, but I have enjoyed the program. I’ve even practiced taking pulses of my family members so I could get the right technique.”


MPS North Division students, faculty and staff celebrate their accomplishments MATC School of Health Sciences and School of Pre-College Education staff.

And the learning didn’t end in the classroom. Each day, the students arrived early at MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus to review homework and assignments. 

The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board provided significant funding for the project.

“This is an outstanding collaborative effort to introduce high school students to careers in the healthcare industry, an area crucial to the success of workforce development for the City of Milwaukee,” said Donald Sykes, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board President. “This pilot program serves as an innovative example for creating skilled workers for the future.”

Funding for the program also was made possible by the City of Milwaukee’s Youth Development and Employment Initiative, Zilber Family Foundation, North Division High School Alumni Association, Landmark Credit Union, Milwaukee Public Schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. 

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee committed to paying 75% of costs for tuition and books for students who completed the program and choose to pursue a nursing career.

MATC’s Nursing Assistant program focuses on basic nursing skills and procedures to assist hospital patients, nursing home residents and at-home health clients with their daily living activities, specialized care and communication needs. 

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program examination. Individuals who pass the NNAAP exam are added to the state nurse aide registry, which is used to assure employers that the potential hire has met the federal and state requirements for employment. Students also will have three MATC credits that can be used if they decide to pursue post-secondary education at MATC or another college/university.

See photos of the North Division High School students at the August 7, 2013, completion ceremony at this link.