Winona Senior High School students get hands-on experience in the health care field

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – Some area high school students are getting experience of what it’s like working in their potential future jobs.

And one student is already making the most out of her opportunity.

Winona high school students participating in a local workforce ready program are learning what it’s like to work in health care.

The industry needs 80 million workers by 2030, according to the Human Resources for Health.

For one student, her interest in working with the elderly has grown with this program.

Target practice is just one activity junior Morgan Walker helps the elderly with.

“You get to see them smile, and you get to actually see how they get affected by it,” Walker said.

For some students, it’s gaining real-life experience for the first time.

Walker does it for her job as a culinary service aid.

“Since the end of August, so about five months,” Walker added.

She gets excited for every visit.

“I always look forward coming to work here because of the connection with the residents,” Walker said.

Walker is a junior in the REACH program for Winona Senior High School, and today, her and other students are visiting the St. Anne of Winona health center.

“It’s more than just a field trip,” St. Anne of Winona human resources director Jeff Rogness said. “They’re actually coming in to have a hands-on experience here in a health care environment.”

If they enjoy their time, it could go a long way in a field that needs workers.

“It’s helping grow that work force to make that we’re gonna have the people in the positions in the future to make sure we can care for the people that have the needs,” Rogness said.

Walker is hoping to be one of those people.

“Every day I can go to my job knowing that I will get something out of it,” Walker said.

She’s already gotten some nice feedback.

“There is one patient here that always compliments me on my smile here that I love,” Walker said.

She sees herself working at the health care center until she graduates.

“Until at least I’m done with high school, I don’t plan on switching,” Walker said. “I love it here.”

In addition to doing activities with the elderly, students at the health center also got to try food the center offers to its patients.

They also met the center’s board of directors.

This is the second year students are helping out at the health care center to get real-life experience.