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Employers in Montana are attempting to attract high schoolers to the field of healthcare to fill a gap



Billings, Montana — One Montana organization wants to interest high school kids in a potential career in healthcare as the field continues to experience a nationwide workforce shortage.

This week, more than 300 high school students from all over the state are attending the annual Montana HOSA State Leadership Conference in Billings. The organization HOSA – Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, supports students who want to work in the medical field. The conference’s Wednesday session took place on the grounds of Rocky Vista University.

“It’s neat to see people investing in the future of our students,” said the Montana HOSA Director Katie Meier. “We have a lot of kids already starting their careers in entry-level positions and so I just think it’s cool to see the way that people have come together to address that workforce shortage in our state.”

Ilah Mckenzie, a junior at Columbia Falls High School, and Canyon Masters, a teammate, participated in the competition by teaming up in a fictitious emergency crisis. Before entering the room, they were given only a few details, and afterward, they were evaluated based on how well they assessed the issue and helped the mannequins who had allegedly been injured.

“This was one of the coolest experiences of my life, and there’s just been so many new opportunities that I’ve seen through this as a club that I haven’t throughout the school district. So it’s really neat,” Mckenzie said.

Alorah Baker, a high school student from Ronan, presented at the occasion on the need for respiratory therapists.

“There’s a desperate need for respiratory therapists in Montana,” Baker said.

Meier emphasized the significance of maintaining students’ interest in pursuing jobs in healthcare.

“It’s been really neat to see the community partners all come together and realize that this is an issue that we all have to have a stake in,” Meier said.


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