MATC sees 23% increase in applications in health care program amid COVID

Every day, we see how vital essential workers are, and the need for more of them in the workforce.

Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Healthcare Pathway program allows students to gain experience working in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and more. While the coronavirus pandemic may have altered some hands-on opportunities, their dedication to helping the community and health industry during this pandemic has been growing. 

In March 2020, MATC donated massive amounts of personal protective equipment and several ventilators to area health care facilities. One month later, they added a facility to help boost the workforce. 

Dr. Kelly Dries

"We have seen how the pandemic has really impacted our students, our community and in bringing additional programs to Ozaukee County, we feel that we are able to meet the needs of the health care industry," said Dr. Kelly Dries, dean of Healthcare Pathway at MATC.

Dr. Dries says the program is seeing growth in interest at their new Mequon location. 

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"A 23% increase in applications," she said.

The Healthcare Pathway now houses more than 30 different health care programs in nursing, allied health and dental, serving more than 3,000 students alone. The focus here is on health, wellness and promotion.

"I think more people are interested in taking their health into their own hands," said Dr. Dries.

That's especially the case during covid-19.

"More people are interested in this field, wanting to maintain a healthy body in case they do get it, it’s not as quiet as severe," Dr. Dries.

Sarah Frank says learning in this climate is beneficial. 

"I feel like we almost had a certain training level with having to deal with the pandemic," said Frank. "We are stronger in that sense. We are way more educated in how to use technology properly. This really goes into home health or physical therapy."

It's proving to be an accessible avenue to learn the ins and outs of a changing and vital industry. 

"The whole idea of us kind of expanding here is to make this a health hub," said Dr. Dries.

Each health care pathway is staffed with advisers, retention coaches and student success liaisons to ensure students get the most out of their education. There are several different programs offered just a couple of weeks to two years.