Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) focuses on jobs and careers in health care during the month of February. Recently, about 20 JAG-K students and staff from three different high schools spent an afternoon learning about career options at Stormont Vail Hospital as part of the recent Senior Days event in Topeka.
Students from Eudora, Goodland and Minneapolis visited Stormont Vail Health’s Topeka hospital facility. Stormont Vail also has facilities in Emporia, Junction City and Manhattan. In all, Stormont Vail Health has more than 5,000 employees across 13 Kansas counties.
“We want to get in front of students to let them know that these options are out there,” said Terri Dean, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner. “We have an aging population, and we’re going to have a growing need for health care in our state. It’s very important for us to develop the next generation of employees for all the jobs needed in health care.”
Dean demonstrated various training tools used by health care professionals, including giving students a chance to interact with lifelike manikins. Several students simulated performing CPR on the manikins.
Students toured sections of the Topeka facility, learning about not just treatment programs but also support services such as facilities, laundry and food service.
“There are just so many jobs that might interest them,” Dean said. “So many times, when people hear the words ‘health care,’ they know nursing and they know doctors. But a hospital like ours is a complete city. There are positions that don’t require four-year degrees. Some of them require associate degrees. Some of them require training or certifications.”
Kylee Denison, senior at Minneapolis and one of the students on the tour, works in food service at a small hospital in central Kansas. She said the visit to Stormont Vail may spark interest in health care careers in JAG-K students.
“I come from a super small hospital, so coming to a hospital of this size, it’s kind of crazy to see all the floors and all the staff that it takes to make it work,” Denison said. “Coming here, I really learned a lot. This opens my eyes because there’s a lot more out there than you can imagine as a high school student.”
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.
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 6-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.
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, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Royals Charities, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.
To learn more about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.