Careers up close: Health and trades fair gives students hands-on experiencePower tools whirred under students’ control Tuesday at the Jamestown Civic Center while less than 20 yards away EMTs showcased what medical procedures can be done in an ambulance.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Power tools whirred under students’ control Tuesday at the Jamestown Civic Center while less than 20 yards away EMTs showcased what medical procedures can be done in an ambulance.
Close to 1,000 regional high school students attended the Health Technology and Trades Career Fair, exploring potential careers with hands-on experience.
Torrey Morehouse, a sophomore at Valley City High School, made easy work of a Caterpillar demonstration where he tested his mechanical aptitude.
Morehouse already knows a two-year college degree in mechanics is what he wants to pursue after graduation, just not in what field.
“I’m just seeing what I want to do and what’s out there,” Morehouse said.
Martin Johnson, a second-year student in the ThinkBIG Caterpillar Technician Education program at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, watched Morehouse as he quickly bolted and unbolted the demonstration.
Johnson himself went straight from high school into the program, which is similar to a diesel mechanic program but specific to Caterpillar machines. It also splits time between the shop and the classroom.
“I believe it’s the best way to get started in this field,” Johnson said.
Past the road grader simulator that Caterpillar also offered was Jessica Johnson, who wanted to get students into a career that sparks.
Johnson, administrative assistant and marketing specialist with Lynnes Welding Training in Fargo and Bismarck, was hoping to get some students interested in welding — a career with a statewide demand.
“It’s everywhere,” she said. “Valley City, Fargo — of course western North Dakota is screaming for welders.”
Johnson sees high school students taking the different classes offered, which can train welders in months instead of years, with 85 percent of the time spent in hands-on learning.
“The young kids need to get out and get involved because our aging welders are going to retire soon,” she said.
There was more than machine work on display Tuesday. The medical field, which has a high demand for skilled employees, was also on display.
As students walked by the booth for Eventide at Hi-Acres Manor, they were literally using both hands — scrubbing and washing.
“The more hand washing you have, the more hand washing you do, the less likely you are to become ill and you’ll have better attendance at your job,” said Robin Gumke, director of human resources at Eventide at Hi-Acres Manor.
Students got their hands dirty with a material that glows under ultraviolet light. They then washed their hands and used a UV light to see just how much they missed.
In Jamestown the nursing center employs about 250 people, with close to 100 of those employees having gone through a two-year program or vocational program that yields full-time jobs with benefits.
Jacee Engels, a junior from New Rockford, was making the rounds at health career booths, even though she is set on a four-year program.
“It’s still good to see what other options there are out there,” Engels said.
Close by was Rebecca Rodermacher, a Valley City sophomore, who had numerous questions for EMTs from Jamestown Area Ambulance.
“You learn more info on the subjects like health careers,” Rodermacher said. “You see the different areas or fields you can be in.”
Veronica Shockley, EMT basic and paramedic student at Jamestown Area Ambulance, said students are attracted to the job because it doesn’t require a university degree.
“You don’t have to go to school for four years or 10 years and you can still be doing something like this,” Shockley said.
Ann Ede, director of career services at Triumph Inc. and a member of the Region VI Transition Team, said the 2012 fair was a success.
Part of what Triumph does is help find jobs for people with disabilities. But Tuesday’s fair was for all students.
However, Ede said she would like to get more vocational centers and programs involved to get students engaged in finding a career earlier.
“Everything’s been going very well, very smooth today and we always get new ideas for the future whenever we put this on,” she said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com