A.J. Pratt is getting dressed up in surgical gear. It's a possible look he may soon be donning in the near future. Though just an eighth grader, he already has his sights set on the medical field. He eventually wants to be a surgeon or a pediatrician.
"The human body, everything is so advanced, and everything is put together in a simple way that it works to make everyday life possible."
Not one to procrastinate on his education, he took advantage of the Capital Healthcare and Employment Council's "Health Works!" exhibits on Saturday at Impression 5.
"I'm just trying to build my background, expand my knowledge."
"I don't think there's any field in healthcare right now where there is not a shortage or an anticipated shortage," Capital Healthcare and Employment Council Executive Director Cindy Whittum says.
Whittum adds it's never too early to get kids thinking about jobs in healthcare -- especially at time when baby boomers make up an estimated 25 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"People are living much longer, and when people live longer they need more healthcare. They need more medication, long-term care, home healthcare."
Though getting more youngsters to consider careers in healthcare is crucial, Whittum says the need for workers is growing faster than the number of graduates getting out into the field.
"It's not a job where you can just graduate from high school and immediately go into healthcare. So there is that backlog of people getting into the educational system, getting their education, and getting out and getting a job."
Despite all that time and schooling, A.J. says he's looking forward to working in the medical field, and the medical field, well, it's looking forward to having another person to help fill the shortage.