Preparing Our Future Workforce

Washington Business Week

So, sending the kids off to summer camp?

High school students from across the state were at Gonzaga University last week for a certain summer camp. But this camp didn’t have soccer balls or canoe rides.

Instead, it had stethoscopes, public speaking courses and real-life business scenarios.

Nearly 230 students last week came to Gonzaga to take part in either Washington Business Week or Health Care Week, sponsored by Association of Washington Business. Students interested in various fields were able to get hands-on experience at an earlier age than most.

For instance, those interested in health care were able to experience treating a patient through simulation. An instructor sat in another room on the viewing side of a one-way mirror and controlled a mannequin in a hospital bed. The instructor had the mannequin cough, indicate he was sick, and have a much-too-high heart beat.Washington Business Week

The students had to decide how to nurse the patient back to normal levels by giving him oxygen, simply laying him back and checking his pulse every so often. It was a great experience for these students, and probably the earliest they’ve ever simulated being a nurse or a doctor. Most aspiring doctors and nurses don’t get that hands-on experience until college.

The students also learned about leadership, teamwork and the business of health care.

The students at Health Care Week (and many at Business Week, as well) show that interest in science is alive and well – and much needed. According to, just 29 percent of U.S. high school graduates in 2010 were ready for college work in science.

Washington Business WeekPrepared students make for the perfect match for a prepared workforce. A strong workforce helps area businesses compete, which can enhance our local economy and bring new businesses to the area.

The weeklong camp at Gonzaga helped prepare students for what they might encounter once they enter college. Rather than walk into a university lab not knowing what they’re in for, these students are off to a head start.

Note: Mark your calendars for the Greater Spokane Incorporated Annual Meeting on September 14 where Dr. Mark David Milliron, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Improvement for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will talk about how a prepared workforce is important for a local, state and national economy.


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