Taesha Speaks and Amiyah Speaks at their job at Bourbon Heights Inc.
More than half of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs in the next decade are projected to be in health care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including home health and personal care aides.
Paris High School Seniors Taesha and Amiyah Speaks are tackling that statistic head on by participating in a student Co-Op experience provided by the Jobs for America's Graduates of Kentucky (JAG) Program at Paris High School. The Speaks twins both participate in a Co-Op program at Bourbon Heights Inc that allows them to get on the job experience as State Registered Nurse Aides while working, learning, and earning a paycheck in a "real-life" setting.
Amiyah and Taesha spend the first half of their day at Paris High School taking classes like Financial Literacy and College Dual-Credit courses with Maysville Community and Technical College and the University of Kentucky, where they are on a path to earn a combined 60 college credit hours! After they finish their classes for the day, they travel across town to sign in for the second half of their day -- working at Bourbon Heights, a non-profit healthcare facility which offers a multitude of services.
Taesha and Amiyah both agreed that working a job within their desired career pathway while in school has been beneficial to their overall high school experience. "I've learned how to manage my time between school and work and I've also learned professional skills," says Taesha. Amiyah agreed, adding "Between being at school, being at work, and cheer practice, I've definitely learned how to manage my time better".
Those time management skills will definitely come in handy when they are off to college in the fall, especially when almost 90% of college students quote poor time management skills as the primary source of struggle during their academic career.
Paris High School JAG Specialist & Coordinator James Bruce shares "JAG breaks barriers to post secondary credentials by equipping students with employable skills and bridging the gap between our students and their future employers. Innovative school programs and activities, mixed with on-the-job and career experiences, set forth stepping stones toward success for our students after graduation."
On top of time management skills, staff members shared with us that they see students who work at Bourbon Heights learning qualities like respect, responsibility and kindness.
"These students learn responsibility," says Liakisha Hill, who works with students in food services at Bourbon Heights as the Dietary Manager, "Learning how to work with others and respecting their peers and other people who work here is important".
"They're learning how to have normal conversations with people who have concerns and issues and addressing those in a calm matter of fact kind of way," states Roy Baber, Administrator of Bourbon Heights.
Tashea and Amiyah agreed that their time at Bourbon Heights has been a positive experience and encouraged other students to take on this opportunity. "I think that working here would be a positive experience for other students. I like forming relationships with all of the people here and the workers and the elderly" said Taesha. "I've liked spending time with the residents here and meeting new people" said Amiyah.
Paris High School Health Sciences Teacher Amy Majewski shares that "Co-op is a great opportunity that allows a student to apply the knowledge obtained in the classroom to real life experiences. Because Amiyah and Taesha Speaks will have gained real-world know-how and professional skills from working at Bourbon Heights, their resume will stand out from their peers." Majewski is the leader of the Academy of Health Sciences (AOHS) program at Paris High School. The mission of the Paris AOHS is to provide students an understanding of health sciences in order to make informed career decisions. Paris AOHS students will develop the academic knowledge and career skills needed to achieve personal and professional success in high school, higher education, and throughout their careers. The Paris AOHS Program has partnered with Maysville Community and Technical College to provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit through dual credit courses while in high school, which Taesha and Amiyah have both accomplished. The Co-Op Program that these students are participating in is a result of following the AOHS pathway.
"It's hands-on, immediate experience that gets them into the real world. Plus, they get to learn specifically what this field is all about." states Roy Barber, Administrator of Bourbon Heights, "The relationships they build, the experiences they have, the shadowing of other professionals, you can't get it out of a book".
"This is a rewarding field -- a rewarding job. But on top of that, it teaches you something that a lot of people don't have, which is kindness." says Mr. Bruce.
Taesha and Amiyah work hard to excel in their academic lives and to exude the core values of "Always with Pride", the motto at Paris High School while they are working at Bourbon Heights.
Big things lie ahead for both Taesha and Amiyah Speaks. Keep working hard, Greyhounds!