C.A. Johnson Health Sciences Magnet Program Gets Students Career-Ready By Graduation
Now a high school senior, Z’onia Rogers knew she wanted to work in healthcare since she was in elementary school. Her mom, who is a nurse, encouraged her to enroll in the health sciences magnet program at C.A. Johnson High School.
“My mom was excited to learn about how extensive the program is. That’s one of the reasons why I enrolled,” Z’onia said.
More than 50 students are enrolled in the C.A. Johnson Health Sciences Magnet this school year. All Richland One high school students are eligible to apply to enroll in the program, regardless of the schools they are zoned to attend.
Z’onia joined the health sciences magnet program in her freshman year. During her sophomore year, she became interested in nursing.
“Being in the program has exposed me to a lot of different types of careers,” she said. “I felt nursing was the one that was best for me.”
There are a variety of career pathways students can take. One of them is health sciences, which provides an introduction to healthcare for students interested in becoming doctors or nurse practitioners.
Other pathways include Project the Lead the Way, which allows students who are interested in the technical aspects of healthcare to work with equipment and forensics, and business management, which exposes students to the financial side of healthcare.
“The skills students learn in the program can provide them with the tools necessary for them to explore many different careers,” Sheron Capers, the department chairperson for the health sciences magnet program. “Our goal is to bring that real-world experience to our students so they can get a feel for what their career options are.”
The program also offers students certifications in basic life support and first aid, as well as the opportunity to become a certified nursing assistant by the time they leave high school. Students can also intern and participate in job shadowing with community partners such as Prisma Health.
“We want our students to be prepared so that they can go right to work after they graduate,” said Capers. “I try to pour into our students the importance of taking this program seriously and take advantage of everything they can while they’re in school.”
Capers says the program sets students up for success by not only teaching them the foundations of healthcare, but also the soft skills needed for any job, like work ethic and employability.
“We talk about employable skills on a daily basis,” she said. “These are valuable tools students will benefit from, no matter what their career choices are. If you take advantage of the tools we provide for you here, you can go anywhere.”
Z’onia plans to study nursing at the University of South Carolina Aiken in the fall. The health sciences magnet program and the pathways she took influenced her to make that decision.
“The health sciences program has really helped me get to where I am today,” Z’onia said. “There’s a whole lot to gain from it.”
To learn more about all of Richland One’s magnet programs, click here.