PRESQUE ISLE — The first session of Aroostook Career Exploration, a new program being offered by Northern Light AR Gould Hospital to provide local high school students the opportunity to learn more about potential careers, will be offered on Friday, Sept. 27.
It is a unique, multi-session, multi-year program designed to give students in-depth opportunities that grow and expand as the students gets older and closer to college and the job market. It replaces Survivor Aroostook camp, a one-week summer camp that the hospital had offered each June.
It’s all about career awareness, career exploration and career development, said Daryl Boucher, vice president of nursing at AR Gould Hospital and one of the lead organizers of the ACE program.
“Students will get a real feel for whether or not the careers they are exploring are right for them and get the chance to network with professionals who work in these careers every day,” said Boucher. “They will see the technology being used, hear about emerging trends, and learn what it takes to get into college in that specific career.”
Sessions will be offered three to four times a year. This first year of the program is designed primarily for freshman and sophomore students. The first session will be held 1-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27. Additional sessions are planned for 4-8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20; 1-9 p.m. Saturday, April 11; and 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 16. The cost to register for the entire year is $25. This one-time annual fee allows students to participate in any or all of the sessions as their schedules and interests allow.
“The idea is to keep this program affordable and accessible to all students and to provide as much experience for them as possible as they explore their career interests,” said Boucher.
Students who begin the program this year can continue to take sessions each year, which as they progress will include volunteer and job opportunities as well. They will also earn CPR and first aid certification and get assistance with college and career readiness preparation. The hospital will be working in collaboration with local colleges and other businesses to strengthen the programming and give students the best experience possible.
While students from this first cohort advance over the years, new cohorts of Freshman students will be added each year. “So while the program is beginning with one group, the expectation is that it will grow each year until year 4, when it will reach full capacity with students at all four levels of programming,” said Boucher.
The program is based on a wide range of healthcare careers. When people consider careers in healthcare, they most often think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, imaging technicians or lab workers, but hospitals also employ accountants, financial counselors, housekeepers, cooks, administrative assistants, engineers, experts in the trades and so much more.
AR Gould Hospital will provide college scholarships to those who successfully complete the Aroostook Career Exploration program. Those who enter as a freshman and complete the program requirements will be eligible for a college scholarship. Scholarships will be funded with donations from the medical staff, the leadership team and other staff, and the Northern Light AR Gould Foundation.
Those interested in taking part in Aroostook Career Exploration and encouraged to register online at northernlighthealth.org as the registration deadline is fast approaching. To ask questions or request information to be sent to you, please call 207.768.4172.