On the Job: Tara Simpson


Northwestern High School graduate Tara Simpson had her first work experience at Holmes STEM Academy, where she worked in the office. Now, she works as a healthcare recruiter for Maxim Healthcare Services, where she connects nurses with children who require long-term, in-home care.

While she works as a healthcare recruiter, Simpson is pursuing her third post-secondary degree.

“I received my associate in business management and my bachelor’s in HR management and business management from Baker College,” says Simpson. “Currently, I am working on my doctorate of business administration at Walden University.”

Completing these degrees has been an accomplishment that has given her great pride.

“My proudest moment is walking across the graduation stage four times so far – one time for graduating high school and three for post-secondary degrees,” says Simpson. “My plan is to teach business courses at a university level because I can relate to college students through my journey.”

In the meantime, Simpson is happy with her current position and expresses thanks to TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative for giving her the skills to get to where she is today.

What does a typical day as a healthcare recruiter look like?

I hire nurses for children in need of 24-hour care. During my day, I recruit employees and fill shifts, make schedules for nurses and perform clerical work such as answering phones, insurance authorization and approving paid time off for our staff.

How has the pandemic affected your job?

It’s affecting my work tremendously. The training program for my position is 26-weeks long, and I just hit my four-month mark. Working from home has made training more difficult because instead of being able to work directly with supervisors, I have to connect with them virtually.

What lessons learned through TeenQuest helped you on your career path?

The biggest lesson was on leadership. Before the program, I didn’t have experience in leading, but the program really instilled that in me. I’ve used these skills throughout my employment and education journey.

What connections did you make through the TeenQuest program?

My supervisor at my first Summer Youth Initiative job, Jonique Donald, and I developed a good relationship that has become a lifelong connection. We still keep in contact and are good friends now. I also made other friends through the program and although we’ve since parted ways, those relationships lasted for years.

What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?

Stick with it. There are times when I found myself questioning, “Why am I here?”  At the time, I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be getting out of the program. But later I realized the important skills that I learned and was able to take with me into my career.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.