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Step Up program building workforce pipeline for Omaha employers

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 21:02:20-04

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — Right now just about every industry is trying to solve the puzzle that is workforce shortages.

It's tough with nearly every business hiring and record low unemployment rates but the missing piece might just be found in a lab on the campus at UNMC.

“Through Step Up I really wanted to do something hands-on and something that has to do with surgery because when I get older I want to be a surgeon,” said Jasmine Bogard, a Step Up intern and Senior at Omaha North High School.

Jasmine has spent her summer testing and researching the structural integrity of a number of different orthopedic implants as a part of Step Up Omaha, a city-wide program that matches Omaha’s brightest students with internships with some of the city's top businesses and educational programs.

The lab Jasmine works in utilizes state-of-the-art orthopedics technology and isn’t the place you would normally find interns.

“I think it is incredibly important to expose these kids to medicine, science and technology early on to light that fire of passion for research,” said Joel Weisenburger, Senior Research Scientist in the Orthopedics Research Lab at UNMC.

The benefits of the Step Up are twofold.

Students get hands-on experience in cutting-edge programs and employers get a chance to shape the workforce of the next generation.

“It's helping them to be successful, building social skills, team building. Also, how to manage, plan, prioritize and network and learn new things that are exciting that would help UNMC if they decide to come back to us and continue to be that employer on the cutting edge,” said Evelyn Grixby, Human Resources Coordinator for Step Up UNMC.

The Step Up program at the medical center has been consistently growing over the last few years.

It started with only a couple of interns but has since grown its workforce pipeline to include over a dozen working in departments across UNMC.

And Jasmine says the program only gets better with every passing year.

“I have been doing Step Up for about three years now. Every year has been good but this year is by far the best.

The step up Program is open to students aged 16-21 and you can find more info on the program on their website.

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