News Release: HCA Hosts JAG-K Students for Career Exploration at Overland Park Regional Med Center

Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) focuses on jobs and careers in health care during the month of February. Recently, about 50 JAG-K students from four Kansas City high schools spent a day learning about career options at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, which is staffed by HCA Healthcare.

The HCA Health Sciences Career Exploration Day introduced students to diverse career options available in healthcare. Participating in the event were students from Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission West, KC-Harmon, KC Schlagle and Eudora high schools.

“This was a great opportunity for our students to see the multitude of jobs and skills required to make a hospital run,” said Joni Bolen, JAG-K Director of Employer Engagement. “There’s a job for everyone regardless of your interests.”

JAG-K provides opportunities for students to explore careers through employer engagement relationships. Those experiences may include field trips, job shadows, internships and summer or part-time employment. 

Students toured sections of the facility, learning about not just treatment programs but also support services such as facilities, laundry and food service. They had the opportunity to ask questions of employees in each section of the hospital.

“It was a blast. We love seeing the excitement from the students,” said Ingrid Hubbard, Human Resource Manager at the medical center. “When they see something new that sparks their interest, it’s a pleasure to us.”

Hubbard said that reaching out to students is important to the mission of HCA Healthcare.

“We believe that youth are our future. These are our future employees,” Hubbard said. “We want to educate about all the different career opportunities. People think immediately of nurses and doctors. But there are a wealth of different roles under the healthcare umbrella.

“Health care is always here. It will always be needed. So, we’re building the future workforce.”

HCA made sure students not only viewed the many ways people work in a hospital but got hands-on experience in as many ways as possible. They tried on protective equipment and handled surgical tools, interacted with a surgical robot and viewed the ambulance and helicopter transportation units and the use of ultrasound equipment.

“The interactive field trips are my favorite. I love when the students can have hands on experiences,” said Shawnee Mission West JAG-K Career Specialist Sta’Nisha Hersey. “It’s cool to get them out of the classroom and into other spaces where they can learn. Some of them would never be able to learn more about certain careers if we didn’t give them these opportunities.”

“I thought it was a cool experience,” said Shawnee Mission West student LaRenziana Jones. “I liked the interactive part the most.  It opened my eyes to other careers in the medical field.”

Kansas’ 112 JAG-K programs serve approximately 6,000 students in 47 school districts across the state. JAG-K Career Specialists help students graduate and learn career, leadership, and life skills by executing a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model. Participants must meet criteria to be selected for the program and have potential to overcome various barriers to post-secondary success. Last year, JAG-K had more than 900 high school graduates.

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 38 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, EagleU, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, the JB and Anne Hodgdon Foundation, John Deere, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Royals Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Kohl’s, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of Kaw Valley, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.

To learn more about JAG-K, visit, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.