Programs helping Sioux Falls high school students prep for the future

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — High school students in the Sioux Falls school district are getting a better idea of what their future could look like in the medical field.

While most people are looking forward to summer, Yvette Nishimwe is excitedly awaiting the fall. That’s when she’ll start in the medical assisting program at Southeast Technical Institute.

“I grew up seeing my dad, he’s a doctor is in Africa. So when he is like treating patients, when I look the way he’s struggling and not have people to help him do his job, like bringing him medicine and stuff or help him see to the patients,” Nishimwe said.

She’s looking forward to being able to assist those in the medical field such as her dad, and thankful for the Classroom to Careers program that’s helping her get there.

“We’re really targeting those that, you know, just the underrepresented first generation, new Americans, really anybody that, just needs a little extra help and guidance and figuring out what to do after high school,” Jennifer Schelske said.

Program coordinator Jennifer Schelske says students learn about applying for college, financial aid and the training that is required based on their career choice.

“We know there’s thousands of job opportunities in healthcare that are not maybe direct care, but we do show them, by really, directly going in and shadowing a different department every Friday throughout the school year,” Shantel Krebs said.

Shantel Krebs says the Avera Academy allows students to experience almost 40 different departments, giving them a better understanding of available careers before even graduating high school.

“This program has been very successful. Out of last year’s class, almost 85% of them went into health care. And this class we have almost 99% of the students going into healthcare. And it’s very diverse,” Krebs said.

One of them being Abby Lingle, who says the program helped her realize her original goal of working in pharmacy wasn’t the right fit.

“It was just really nice to see like all the areas of the hospital and all the different career options that I didn’t even know, like were a thing at the hospital. They, it was just, it really helped me decide to make my decision to be a nurse,” Lingle said.

Both programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credits through Southeast Tech, as well as sponsorships to help pay for their post-secondary education.

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