HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The year just started, but some are looking ahead to new opportunities.

Penn Medicine’s ASPIRE program plans to help students in Pennsylvania with career aspirations in nursing. Twenty-five high school juniors were selected with hopes of gaining mentorship, exposure to the health care environment, and hands-on experience.

“Starting early enough to expose high school students to the whole trajectory will yield a really great outcome, particularly for students who might not otherwise pursue a career in nursing but also may not have an opportunity to go to college,” said Beth Smith, Director Of Nursing Professional Development at the University Of Pennsylvania Hospital.

During this program, students will attend lecture-type classes on Saturdays and Sundays and they will assist and help nurses and other clinicians at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. This is a way for them to see that the medical field is much more than wearing scrubs.

“So, they can have real careers outs of this, and they have the opportunity to see it all firsthand and make those decisions,” says Colleen Mationi, Chief Nurse Executive.

After completing the program, a scholarship is provided to those who pursue a bachelor’s in nursing. But at La Salle University, a scholarship provided by the Howley foundation of $7.5 million will help support students, which some say makes the program worth it.

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“The endless opportunities that this program is likely, are likely to provide is what excites me the most,” said Mationi.

Upon completion of the program, students will have routine check-ins and guidance on academic matters. Applications are already open, and the program starts later this year. To apply, visit the ASPIRE program’s website.