The Star-Herald

Hospital starts new health career exploration program

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The first session of Aroostook Career Exploration, a new program offered by Northern Light AR Gould Hospital to help local high school students learn more about potential health care careers, will be offered from 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at the hospital. 

The program, ACE for short, is a unique, multi-session, multi-year program designed to give students in-depth opportunities that grow and expand as students get 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, exploration and development, according to 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,” Boucher said. “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 freshmen and sophomores.  In addition to the first session on Sept. 27, additional sessions are planned from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, Saturday, April 11, and Tuesday, June 16. f

The cost to register for the entire year is only $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.  Participants will earn CPR and first aid certification and obtain assistance with college and career readiness preparation. The hospital will collaborate 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 four, when it will reach full capacity with students at all four levels of programming,” explained Boucher.  

ACE 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 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 should register online at www.northernlighthealth.org/ACE as the registration deadline is fast approaching.  For more information, call 207.768.4172.

Submitted by the Communications Office of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital.

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