Health & ExerciseSpotlight

Introducing Hundreds Of Students To Virtual Health Career Exploration

On November 17th, approximately 1,714 middle and high school students across Northern Indiana engaged with Parkview Health professionals and explored a wide variety of exciting career opportunities… without leaving their classrooms! Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana (JANI) hosted its fifth JA Virtual Health Career Exploration Day—an event designed to show students how different careers are interconnected within an industry.

Through an immersive, digital simulation, participating students felt like they were traveling to an actual career expo. They “entered” a large, virtual building with eight distinct spaces, each representing one of the critical sectors of our regional economy: 1. Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, & Logistics; 2. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources; 3. Architecture, Engineering, & Construction; 4. Business, Finance, & Marketing; 5. Government, Law, & Public Service; 6. Health & Life Science; 7. Hospitality, Tourism, & Arts; and 8. Information Technology. Each of the interactive, virtual spaces was uniquely designed to match the industry sector it represented. For example, students who wanted to learn about “Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, & Logistics” entered a virtual factory, complete with workers and an assembly line.

As students explored the industry sector or sectors that interested them most, they also discovered numerous “hot spots,” which, when clicked on, linked them to information about local educational, training, and career opportunities. Students were given the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of relevant careers—from those that may only require on-the-job training to those that require a certification, college degree and beyond. The hot spots also linked students to videos, downloadable career resources, and important work and career readiness information.

What sets this JA Virtual Health Career Exploration Day apart is that students were able to participate in live demonstrations, panels, and “Q&A” sessions led by Parkview Health co-workers that placed emphasis on the interconnectedness of all careers in an industry. For example, Parkview Health relies on facility leaders, IT specialists, Human Resources, and marketing professionals, as well as doctors, nurses, imaging technicians, therapists, and other clinicians and support team members to ensure their operation runs smoothly and patients receive excellent care. The Parkview Health co-workers talked about their experiences and answered questions, helping students to develop a better understanding of what they needed to do now, and after high school, to pursue the career of their dreams.

“Most students only consider jobs and industries they’ve had personal experience with. Through opportunities like the JA virtual Health Career Exploration Day, we’re creating access for students to explore careers they’ve never dreamed of. By meeting Parkview co-workers and learning more about their day-to-day work and how they pursued their career through education and early work experience, we’re able to inspire students to think about their next steps on their education and career path,” said Heather Schoegler, director of strategic educational partnerships, Parkview Health.

The goal of the JA Virtual Health Career Exploration Day was to help “plant a seed” in the mind each of these young people, introducing them to new ways of achieving their career goals, even if it is in a different industry than they first expected.

Each year, JANI delivers more than 185,000 JA experiences to students across its 29-county service are. JA’s educator-requested programs focus on work and career readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy and include in-school programs taught by community volunteers as well as experiential capstone programs like JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park®.

The Waynedale News Staff
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