OrthoWorx joins with Education Partners to Boost Higher Academic Achievement for Select Students

New Bridge to Employment site in Warsaw promises to encourage secondary school students to pursue challenging careers STEM2D

WARSAW, IN – A Johnson & Johnson program to help prepare high school students for rewarding careers is coming to the Warsaw community. The Bridge to Employment (BTE) program has been conducted at many sites of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies worldwide and this year will be launched in cooperation with the DePuy Synthes, Inc. location in Warsaw. BTE will encourage secondary students to pursue STEM2D careers.

OrthoWorx received a grant to conduct strategic planning for the three-year program. A cohort of about 50 freshman students will be selected before the end of the 20-21 school year, and the program will be launched in earnest in August of this year. OrthoWorx is applying for an additional $90,000 grant to administer the program over the coming three years.

OrthoWorx is a nonprofit formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to preserve and extend the Warsaw region's legacy as the Orthopedic Capital of the World.

The BTE program offers facility tours, career awareness events and one-to-one mentoring from DePuy Synthes Warsaw employees. Participating students also will have the opportunity to attend global conferences, tour various college campuses and complete volunteer projects, all while exploring careers around STEM2D,which is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing, and design.

“Far too many young people fail to see the connection between what they are learning in school and its relevance to the world of work. Youth often have little familiarity with the range of exciting career options that await them, especially in the fast growing cutting edge field of health care. We are excited to bring together educators and business leaders to reestablish the critical connection between academic achievement and practical application. With our partners we can help create educational and life pathways for youth.” said Michael Bzdak in a news release. He is the Global Director of Employee Engagement, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson.

“We are excited that this outstanding program is now coming to Warsaw and we see this as a way DePuy Synthes and our employees can continue to contribute to the success and vitality of the community,” said Andrew Ekdahl, World Wide President, Joint Reconstruction, Medical Business Services, Inc. in the news release “We’re also excited to collaborate with a variety of organizations for implementation, including OrthoWorx, Warsaw Community Schools, Grace College, Ivy Tech Community College Warsaw Campus and Purdue Fort Wayne.”

Several events are planned for the program kickoff, although final details will depend on COVID-19 restrictions that may be in place at the time.

The strategic planning grant and three-year implementation grant are being provided by FHI 360. Johnson & Johnson collaborates with FHI 360 to manage the BTE program worldwide, which encourages young people to pursue higher education and challenging careers in health care. The program draws on a collaborative effort between schools, employers, parents and community groups to provide a diverse population of students with academic enrichment, career exploration and higher education preparation. The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies have funded more than 60 local sites in communities worldwide through this longstanding program.

Freshman are encouraged to apply by April 30. They or their parents can contact their school counselor at WCHS to receive the application.

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