IRON MOUNTAIN — On Tuesday, the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain hosted Career Day for students from ten area high schools. The students got a taste of over 30 different fields that are housed within the building, from optometry and nursing to nutrition and public relations.
“Many of the students feel we just have medical careers,” said MaryAnne Gibler, EEO Program Manager at the VA Medical Center. “We have so much more than just medical careers, and that’s one of my passions is getting locals to look at the actual career choices that we have.”
About 80 staff members were on hand to talk to the students about their professions and, with the help of simulations and technology, give them hands–on examples of the kinds of work they do every day. The event is especially helpful for students who are looking to narrow down their career choices.
Kingsford High School Junior Tori Kowalkowski said “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know it’s going to be medical related, so being able to have this experience and talk to professionals is pretty cool.”
This is the 7th career day put on by the VA Medical Center, and the student’s aren’t the only ones still learning about potential careers.
“I always learn something new, just listening to how many years of education, it’s fun to listen to people’s stories of how they started out and how they ended up here. Not everybody’s from the U.P.,” said Ruth Truscott, a counselor at Iron Mountain High School.
Another benefit to introducing students to careers available at the VA Medical Center has to do with the turnover of employees. According to Gibler, 267 employees are eligible for retirement in the coming years.
“We have kind of a ‘retirement tsunami,’ that’s very important that we address right now and how better to address it than get to our students who are about to consider career choices?” said Gibler.
To continue with the exploration, the schools are given access to a career website. Gibler also said that she plans on continuing Career Day at the VA Medical Center for years to come.