Students, staff call STEP's second year a success

It’s a simple concept—invite high school- and college-age students who need summer jobs to introduce them to careers in health care and to Carle. That’s what the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) did for the second year this summer, and it was a success for Carle and STEP employees.

Sixteen STEP workers took positions as medical assistants, healthcare technicians, patient transporters, lab assistants, food service workers, environmental services workers and office clerical staff. While they are only in their STEP jobs for eight to 12 weeks, that short time can make a big difference to a department and even change a young person’s life.

STEP assistants Matthew Wong, who worked in the lab, and Madison White, who worked in Orthopedics, took advantage of the program to gain traction in their budding careers.

“I was able to work and see first-hand a crucial part of health care,” Wong said. “I am actually going to pharmacy school next year, and I’m glad to have a stronger background and foundation of health care going into my first year.”

White also sees herself pursuing a career in health care, but as a nurse.

Her summer job as a medical assistant was a perfect fit, she said, because she was able to participate in hands-on health care right away. She was such a good fit, she was hired on to continue to work in the department after her STEP assignment ended.

“Being able to jump right in was great because the program only lasts for the summer, though in my case it became a full-time position,” she said. “So, the training and experience I got this summer are really helping in the new job.”

STEP helps departments deal with summer vacation schedule changes and builds relationships with potential employees.

Both of the STEP employees also got to see why Carle is a special place to work.

“It was great to be able to interact and hear the testimonies of the Carle employees and how passionate they are to be in health care,” Wong said.

“One of the big differences in working at Carle is the sense I get that my supervisors care about how I’m doing and care about my input,” White added.