With health care workers in high demand, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students are getting on track toward excellent careers while still in high school. Through a partner pathway, students can earn credentials as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) on their way to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) while still in high school.
This exciting option is offered at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) through the M-Cubed partnership. M-Cubed is a combined effort of MPS, MATC, and the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee (UWM) that prepares students for college, helps provide a smooth transition from high school to college, and supports students throughout the application process and into their first year at MATC or UWM.
Through the M-Cubed College Connections program, students can take coursework at MATC while still in high school, with the goal of earning LPN certification. The program is available to students in any MPS high school. Students should apply in January of their sophomore year to begin the nursing pathway in summer and throughout their junior and senior years. Applicants must be on track to graduate, eligible for early release in their junior year, and should have a 2.75 GPA or higher and good grades (A or B) in science courses such as biology and chemistry. During the application process, students will respond to questions about their goals and desire to be in the program.
Since the first year of the College Connections Nursing Pathway during the 2019–20 school year, two students have earned the full LPN with an additional 50 students completing the CNA at MATC as part of the program. Only 32 students are accepted into the program each school year.
Coursework is challenging and requires a commitment by students who take part. Those who successfully complete the program earn both their CNA and LPN and are eligible for full-time work with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. The work completed by students earns high school credit as well as college credit, saving significant time and money when participants enter college.
The partnership between MPS and MATC has yielded multiple improvements to the program in adapting to part-time coursework by high school students. MATC has adjusted the sequencing and expanded supports for participants to meet the needs of students while fulfilling all requirements for licensure.
Sophomores who are interested in the LPN program should contact their school counselor and watch for application announcements in January.