Overlooking a stunning view of the city sits the home of roughly one hundred residents and Denver Online High School junior, Ryan Huitt’s, first job at Arborview Nursing Home.
Ryan provides general care for the residents, “toileting them, feeding them, making sure they’re clean, getting their clothes on,” he said. “Then I also do some physical therapy a little bit, so work with them on their range of motion and restorative communication and things like that, and then I take vitals sometimes.”
And the residents have seemed to have taken a liking to this kind-hearted student.
“I was working with a patient that has pretty severe Alzheimer’s,” he noted. “She looks at me and tells me to sit down, and said, ‘I’m in love with you. I’ve been in love with you my whole life.’ And I really lost my composure, so I had to walk out of the room for a minute so I could get myself back together and get her taken care of.”
This opportunity for on-the-job training, along with having some good laughs along the way, was made possible through two programs. DPS CareerConnect first provides students with career and technical education courses. It partners with CareerWise that works with businesses to provide internships, job shadows, and apprenticeship programs for students. There are ten pathways to choose from including CreativeConnect, TechConnect, BusinessConnect, EdConnect, EngineeringConnect, HospitalityConnect, MakerConnect, MedConnect, PublicSafetyConnect, and ACEConnect. Ryan chose the MedConnect pathway.
“The program lasts for four years. But for the next two years, I’ll continue to work as a CNA which stands for certified nurse assistant,” Ryan explained. “Then in my third year, I’ll be sent to Emily Griffith Technical College and then I’ll do an LPN program there, and LPN’s are licensed practical nurses. And then after that, I’ll work here for another year as an LPN.”
While the four-year apprenticeship commitment can be a bit daunting at first, students receive tuition-free college courses, payment for their work, and a head start in their professions.
Take it from Ryan as he notes, “Totally do it. It’s awesome. You should totally do it. It’s so great. Might as well go for it. It gives you a good career to start in and a really big jumpstart on your life because you get all of your education without having to pay for any of it. It’s really wonderful.”