This past fall, Marrea Walker-Smith joined the team of the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) to help further develop and expand the summer academy program. Launched during the summer of 2017, the first academy served area high school students who were interested in exploring health care careers.
Born in the City of Chester, Walker-Smith was the youngest of seven children. While attending Delaware State, she was selected to participate in President Clinton’s pilot national service program and was assigned to a project that encouraged underserved parents immunize their children.
“I enjoy public health and this was a very meaningful project,” she said. Upon graduation, she began working for a local health department to create prevention programs.
Throughout her career, Walker-Smith has continued to work in the health care, eventually launching her own company – Creative Education Opportunities (CEO Academy). She is also the author and creator of the Girls in Medicine program and Healthcare Leadership camp. It was through these last two endeavors that she became connected to Patti VanCleave, project manager at CCEDC.
With the success of the first summer academy in healthcare, VanCleave who oversees both health care and youth programming for CCEDC knew that there was a great opportunity to expand the program. “Given her background not only in the health care field but also with youth, Marrea was the perfect person to help us,” said VanCleave.
Walker-Smith came onboard and expanded the heath care academy for CCEDC to include a track for middle school kids as well as high schoolers. She also is helping to launch academies in other fields that will debut this summer.
Just a few weeks ago, Walker-Smith was selected as one of the 2018 Healthcare Heroes by Main Line Today. She was selected for her work not only engaging youth but also for assisting residents in low-income housing projects earn certifications that help them gain entry-level healthcare jobs.
“There are a lot of job opportunities in healthcare and a lot of people who, with the right educational means, can get those jobs,” she says. “I want to make those connections.”
Learn more about CCEDC Health Care Academy – HERE
Learn more about Marrea growing up in Chester – HERE