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Knox County Workforce Development Alliance – 2023 Healthcare Expo

MOUNT VERNON, OH. – Knox County WorkDev’s Healthcare Career Expo was held at Centerburg High School and Middle School on October 25th and the Knox County Career Center on October 31st, reaching over 450 students. These employer-led events aimed to educate students about the various healthcare career paths available and the opportunities for education, scholarships, and employment in Knox County. The expo featured various interactive activities and informative presentations in four categories: nursing, technicians, support services (maintenance & culinary), and office & emergency services.

Ryan Gallwitz, Centerburg Superintendent, shared that “Student career exposure and exploration is a district priority for us this year. All K-12 teachers have been creating career lessons within the content of their courses. By hosting the healthcare expo, we were able to bring to life some of those lessons and provide real-world examples for our students. Healthcare is a rapidly growing field with employment opportunities right here in Knox County. It was a great day for our students.”

Healthcare is the second largest industry in the county, and the Healthcare Career Expo provided students with a unique opportunity to explore different career options in the field. Volunteer representatives led the high school expos from Knox Community Hospital, Ohio Eastern Star Home, The Mount Vernon Developmental Center, and the Knox Technical Center. The middle school expo was led by the OSU Veterinary Department, Ohio Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services, Junior Achievement, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Knox County Career Center. These representatives were able to share their experiences and provide insights into the different career paths available to students.

Hanna Ford, Employment Specialist from Knox Community Hospital, commented, “This event was crucial for KCH, which employs over 1,400 people in various positions. We spoke face-to-face with high schools to educate them on careers in healthcare that might not be a traditional nursing route as many think of when they hear healthcare. All the roles discussed are equally important as those that involve providing medical diagnoses and treatment. Of course, we always need nurses, but for those looking for a non-traditional pathway to helping others in their community, you do not know what you do not know. I saw kids’ eyes light up when discussing imaging and laboratory positions behind the scenes. Someone who feels a little more introverted but wishes to help others is ideally suited for these career pathways.
While we hope to see a return in the future of these kids becoming employees, we were honored to give time to the healthcare profession in general. We thank Centerburg High School for allowing that.”

When surveyed, 42% of students were not considering a healthcare career prior to the expo, but the expo
introduced them to a healthcare career they will consider pursuing. When asked how helpful it was while planning their future career path, 86% of students rated the event a three or above out of 5. 34% of students said they were already considering healthcare prior to the event, but the event introduced them to a new healthcare career option they plan to consider.

Julia Suggs, Chair of WorkDev, shared that “Knox County relies heavily on our healthcare institutions for
economic stability and quality of life investments, and WorkDev creates events like the Healthcare Expo to support this vital industry. We hope this event drives students toward local healthcare opportunities, but we mainly hope it empowers them to make a more educated decision about their future.”

WorkDev hopes to make the Healthcare Career Expo an annual event that rotates through Knox County school districts to continue to inspire and educate future healthcare professionals.

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