Children's Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2023 Workforce Report

State Funding Helps Children’s Employees Earn Medical Assistant Diplomas Debt Free

The opportunity to work with kids and families is what makes working at Children’s Wisconsin so special. Children’s reminds all its team members that even if they’re not in a direct, patient-facing role, they are still contributing to the mission of Children’s and the health of the kids in the community.  

The Medical Assistant Grow Our Own Program at Children’s offers employees who may be in support roles the opportunity to have an even greater impact in a clinical setting. Since 2019, more than 100 Children’s employees have completed this program. 

The 10 or 12-month program provides classes through Herzing University and allows current employees to complete a medical assistant (MA) associate degree while continuing to work at Children’s. Employees can complete the program debt free thanks to a combination of funding through Children’s, federal and state funding, and Herzing University scholarships. Post program completion, these employees commit to two years of employment as an MA at Children’s.  

Last year, Amy Pechacek, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development secretary designee, visited Children’s to present the Fast Forward grant funds from the state. Three Children’s MA employees were present at a roundtable discussion where they shared their own stories about the program and the positive impact it has made in their life.  

“We often hear how meaningful this program is to those who complete it. Employees have shared the pride they feel sharing this accomplishment with their own children,” said Julie Okoro, manager of Workforce Development at Children’s. “One teammate shared how thankful they were to participate in a debt-free program that included a pay increase upon transition to a medical assistant position. All this allowed them to buy a home.”  

The need for MAs is high, and having employees complete this program helps provide Children’s some of the talent needed to fill the MA positions in Children’s primary care, specialty care, urgent care and child advocacy clinics.