600 students from GLOW counties see health-related careers at debut event held at GCC

Photos by Tom Rivers: The inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare included 600 students from 28 school districts from Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. They were able to meet with 50 different vendors, including some that offered hands-on healthcare career exploration in an event at Genesee Community College.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2023 at 5:59 pm

BATAVIA – About 600 high school students from 29 districts in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties spent several hours today at Genesee Community College, learning about career opportunities in healthcare.

The inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare was held at GCC. The five school districts from Orleans County – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – were among those that attended the event.

The students received hands-on instruction and experience in first aid/CPR, nursing, caretaking and other healthcare-related activities. The students were also provided information about secondary career paths such as physical therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, Doctor of Medicine, and many other careers in healthcare.

“The kids have shown a spark,” said Jay Lazarony, executive director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board. “They’ve said they like so many of them.”

The event was supported by business and educational groups and sponsors, with many of the healthcare providers saying they need workers.

The event grew out of success from the GLOW With Your Hands event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds. That event educates students through simulations and other hands-on experiences in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food processing and skilled trades sectors on career opportunities available in students’ own backyards.

A large team in the GLOW Workforce System organizes the Glow With Your Hand events.

Oak Orchard Health was among the organizations and businesses looking to connect with students. Joe Palmeri, left, is the organization’s chief human resources officer and Mary Kelly-Pelletier is the director of nursing.

“We want to get our name out in the community and get younger people interested in healthcare,” Kelly-Pelletier said.

Oak Orchard has sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Medina, Brockport, Batavia, Pembroke and Alexander, as well as Warsaw and Hornell.

“Recruiting healthcare workers can be a challenge in rural areas,” Palmeri said.

Orleans Community Health had a spot at the event with students able to meet Kristin Grose, left, the human resources benefits specialist at OCH and Christine Kropf, the corporate educator for the organization.

Orleans Community Health has been growing, adding about 40 jobs in the past 2 ½ years with a short-term rehab of about two to four weeks on the second floor of Medina Memorial Hospital, and also more surgical services offered at the hospital.

“We’ve grown a lot with the additional services at the hospital,” Grose said. “We thought it was really important to expose kids to all the different aspects of healthcare.”

Students may only think of nurses and doctors for healthcare careers, but Grose said there are many other positions, from respiration therapists, to working in the lab and other services.

The OCH spot at GCC also quizzed students on whether they could tell the difference based on appearance of pills and candy. Grose said students were right 70 to 80 percent of the time. Some vitamins look very much like a prescription pill, she said.

All of the students stopped by first responder demonstrations in the gymnasium at GCC.

This photo shows Dustin Pahura, a Medina firefighter, showing students how to do CPR. Andrew Cheverie, another Medina firefighter, also showed how to do CPR, including on infants.

Pam Cherry of Albion (right), outreach coordinator for Mercy Flight EMS, and Terry Thompson, an advanced EMT, showed students how to apply a tourniquet as part of a “stop the bleed” demonstration.

Cherry said the students were very engaged in wanting to know how to do emergency medical care. She encouraged many of them to seek out their local fire departments to volunteer. That is often the first step to getting training to become an EMT, she said.

“We are trying to spark something,” she said about Mercy Flight’s presence at today’s event. “This industry is in desperate need. Most of the fire departments say they need people, especially in Orleans County where almost all of the fire departments are volunteer.”

Justin Niederhofer, Orleans County’s emergency management director, and LeeAnn Dann, Monroe Ambulance’s training manager, also let students try to “stop the bleed” with tourniquets.

Niederhofer said many students showed interest in careers as firefighters and EMTs.