Youth work program backed by major hospital

Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 19:35:41-04

It's a program aimed at helping young people, get the proper training and experience they need to land a good summer job and prepare them for the future.

This year the demand is higher than ever.

This year there were more than 1,600 applications to the Step-Up Omaha! program, teenagers who want to get work experience through internships and apprenticeships.

The Step-Up program is looking for more area businesses to help work with youth to make sure at least 600 of those applicants are placed.

Area youth eager to learn about the medical field will get that opportunity.

CHI Immanuel became the first hospital that will hire teens through Step-Up.

"The kids are coming alive,” said Ann Schumacher, president of CHI Health Immanuel. “They're excited about health careers in their future and it's been a great partnership and we believe that's a good foundation for employment here."

Step-Up Omaha! Director Jami Anders-Kemp says she hopes the commitment will attract other companies to hire teens through the program.

"It could be a small mom and pop shop that's looking for one employee over the summer to really groom into somebody they can keep over the year,” Kemp said. “So I think just having everyone here standing in agreement seeing that it works for them, shows a greater example to the business community."

Schumacher says the extra help will go a long way.

"Healthcare has many shortages actually in the workforce today,” Schumacher said. “It's really important that we build a pipeline of youth interested in our careers."

The 10 positions CHI is hiring from Step-Up will make a difference in the community, said Anders-Kemp.

"It's far reaching,” said Anders-Kemp. “We have family members who are now going to be affected by this change and see a change in their young people and maybe they decide to help them further their career.”

The partnership will help kids develop careers who might not have had the confidence before, Schumacher said.

"There may be kids who didn't perceive they could really work in healthcare,” Schumacher said. “These may have been jobs they felt were out of reach for them. They're going to realize that they're welcome here."

The students who are hired by CHI Immanuel could eventually have part of their college paid for if they continue at the hospital after the summer.