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Marshalltown High School sophomores tour local businesses

Provide students with career learning opportunities

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND Employees of the lower lab in McFarland Clinic Marshalltown explain the equipment and their duties to a group of MHS Sophomores during their stop on the annual sophomore career tours taking place this week.

Sophomores at Marshalltown High School were once again provided the chance this week to explore possible careers of their choosing in depth, through the annual Sophomore Tours. The week-long event is sponsored by the Student Partnership Committee (SPC) of the Marshalltown Business Education Alliance.

According to high school chaperone Rebecca Whalen, the committee work to identify local businesses that will work with the school district to allow tours at their workplace that will help the students to learn about the educational requirements and everyday duties in each career cluster. These informational sessions will also help the students decide if the career that he or she would like to pursue was the best fit after all.

“Each student does some research into careers that he or she would like more information on and then is matched with the career cluster that best fits what had been chosen,” Wahlen said. “Students are matched with the interests and groups formed and the schedule made.”

Wahlen said it is important as the week progressed that the students are finding that local employers are indeed looking to hire workers at all different levels and that there is something available for everyone.

“Hopefully this week will spark some interest do that our sophomore students will be a little more intentional when choosing classes that they will take in high school to align with their chosen career,” Wahlen remarked.

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND McFarland Executive Director of Marshalltown Offices leads a group of Marshalltown High school sophomores through the local clinic on their exploration of healthcare careers Tuesday.

The group attending the session at McFarland Clinic was led by Debbie Wollam, Executive Director of the McFarland offices in Marshalltown. She has been an SPC committee member for three years and has led other tours, but said this was the first time the clinic had itself sponsored a tour.

Wollam told the students that the mission of McFarland is “We Care about People,” and that its promise is to provide extraordinary care every day. McFarland has 12 locations; employs 1,400 people; serves 78,000 active patients; and has 1.5 million patient visits each year — including 168,337 in Marshalltown alone.

In addition to Wollam, Dr. Joseph Pollpeter spoke to the group saying that he has been in the medical field for 30 years and chose it because he loved science, talking to people and helping to make people’s lives better.

Pollpeter explained the many positions in the health care field and gave a rundown of how many years of schooling that the students would need for each of the professions.

“In our field, it is the nurses that give the care and the physicians that give the directions unless the person is a surgeon. It is hard work, but satisfying as well,” Pollpeter said.

He encouraged the students going into the healthcare field to take science, math and physics, but also said the students need to express themselves, not study all the time, and have a wide spectrum of activities to be involved it such as sports and creative writing. He also encouraged volunteerism — as much as possible — not only in the health care field but wherever the need is greatest.

The group was led on a tour of the clinic areas, the lab and oncology department, the x-ray department, and the storage areas by Wollam and other employees.

Wollam concluded, “This week is designed to expose the students to the fields available. Then he or she can decide to pursue it further — or not.”

Participating businesses included: Hampton Inn; Iowa Veterans Home; Emerson; Ambelish Studio; Allobit Studio; Kix 101.1; Alliant; Woodbury School; Bobcat Academy; Blood Farms; Mc Farland Clinic; Unity Point Medical Park; Shomo Madsen Insurance; McGregors; MPS/MFD; Clemons; Riken Tiling/Long Brothers; Marshalltown Family Dental; BBBS; SATUCI; YSS; MHS/AEA RACOM, Marshalltown Airport; and Marshalltown Company.