Local Business Helps Teens Explore Medical Career Options

Wallace-and-Nilan-By Gabrielle Salomone, SCEP WorkReady monitor

This summer through North Light Community Center’s Summer Career Exploration Program (SCEP), administered by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), Manayunk local business Wallace and Nilan Physical Therapy participated as a worksite hosting Jaelyn Height for her six week summer internship.  Jaelyn, an upcoming senior at Hallahan Catholic High School, had a strong interest in exploring career options in the medical field, especially Physical Therapy.

Wallace and Nilan, located at 10 Shurs Lane opened their Manayunk office in 2013. In the fall of 2015, Katie Hissen, a Physical Therapist at Wallace and Nilan, reached out to North Light to talk about how the company could establish more of a presence in the community. This past spring, Wallace and Nilan started their relationship with North Light by welcoming Vyanna Melvin, then a high school junior at W.B. Saul High School, into a six week spring internship through the Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy (USLA), a two year college and career preparation program. Developed through a partnership with the Federation of Neighborhood Centers and implemented locally by North Light, the program has been connecting local small businesses and at risk youth since 2009. The experience proved to be rich and enlightening for both Vyanna and the staff at Wallace and Nilan.

After a successful internship with Vyanna, Katie and the rest of the staff were ready to take on another intern from North Light’s SCEP WorkReady program. The process for choosing their next intern started in June, when Wallace and Nilan interviewed several high school students who had an interest in Physical Therapy and the medical field. The team at Wallace and Nilan ultimately choose Jaelyn. Along with working at her internship for 17 hours per week, Jaelyn also attends weekly professional development seminars for three hours at North Light which focus on a learning based projects, personal reflection, financial literacy, networking and general skills needed in today’s workforce.

When speaking with Katie about the program, she stated, “It is a great opportunity for students to observe a profession before they go off to college and pursue that career, especially since colleges are so expensive these days! It is nice to have different people around to help new patients feel more comfortable in new settings.” Jaelyn stated that this experience helped get her a job this summer in the medical field, giving her options to consider as she evaluates future career paths. Overall Katie, states that the program is a great opportunity for both the student and the worksite, since it gives you as a worksite an extended time to work with and watch students grow and blossom their skills over six weeks, and it is a great way to develop relationships with the students.