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Berks Coalition Shows Students the World of Work at St. Joseph

Monday morning’s trip was a perfect fit for Kira Angstadt. The 14-year-old Gov. Mifflin ninth-grader wants to be a nurse, a desire she developed after seeing them in action during various visits to the hospital. I just like the fact that they’re helping people,” she said. “They’ve always been so caring and helpful.” So that fact that Angstadt and about 60 of her classmates found themselves visiting Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center on Monday was pretty ideal. The students stopped by the Bern Township hospital as part of the Berks Business Education Coalition’s annual students interacting with business program. The program sends students from schools across Berks County to local businesses to get a glimpse of the working world.

This year, more than 4,000 students from 12 school districts will visit 25 local businesses. The trip began Monday, and will continue throughout the rest of this week. The students’ day starts with an assembly at their school, followed by a trip to a business. There, professionals share a little bit about what they do and how to got to where they are. At St. Joseph, what the employees told the students was met with a bit of surprise.

Donna Loy, staff development director, presented a list of jobs at the hospital, which included what kind of education is needed for someone applying for each. The list was three pages long, front and back. “I didn’t know there were that many,” said Daniel Roesch, 15. “There were like 200.” For most of the students, the idea that a hospital has such a diverse pool of employees was something that never occurred to them. “I kind of just thought it was just doctors and nurses,” said Joelle Adams. But it’s so much more, Loy explained. There’s a kitchen with about 60 employees. There are technicians, lawyers, security and a facilities crew. And each job has different requirements.

A cardiologist, for example, needs about 12 years of training between undergraduate, medical school and residency. For some jobs, such as medical lab technician and some nursing positions, training programs can take about two years.

Along with opening students’ eyes to what kind of jobs are out there, Loy also went over some things employers look for in candidates. She listed several tips for the students to follow when interviewing: Don’t be late, bring a resume, do research on the organization for which you wish to work and dress appropriately.

None of you are dressed appropriately for an interview,” she said, failing to see one the student wearing a shirt and tie. “Don’t wear jeans, don’t wear shorts or T-shirts.”

Loy also had some digital-age advice, encouraging the students to make sure they have a business-appropriate email address.

“Don’t have an email address that says ‘I’m hot at Yahoo dot com,'” she said. “I could write a book about the email addresses I’ve gotten.”

The students at St. Joseph’s, as well as other sites, finish up their visits with tours of the various facilities. Upon returning to their schools, they conclude with a wrap-up workshop to discuss what they learned.

Courtesy, Reading Eagle

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