Students from Cathedral City High School (CCHS) leave the safety and security of their classroom once every semester in their junior year, to venture throughout the Coachella Valley to discover information about a possible future career.  The students are enrolled in the Health and Environment Academy of Learning (HEAL) at CCHS, a curriculum designed to prepare students for a future career in the healthcare or environmental industries.

At Coachella Valley Water District, students were able to talk to the staff and scientists about where their water comes from, where it goes after they use it and everything in between.  Students explored the lab where their water is tested and asked specific questions about the process and professionals involved.  Over at Vector Control, students delved into the dangers of West Nile Virus and the current techniques used to control the pests that carry the virus.  There was also an opportunity for personal questions and a chance to view equipment.

Students interested in the health care pathway have a wide variety of businesses from which to choose.  Those interested in a future in the health care industry may consider everything from being a nurse or a doctor to the many emerging technical positions available.  Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs hosted students in a few departments, encouraging students to stay focused on their education and to continue pursuing a career that helps others.  Big Horn Radiology and AVID Physical Therapy were similar success stories.  At Big Horn Radiology, the emerging field of cancer detection and treatment enticed those interested in being involved in cutting-edge technology, whereas those students who traveled to AVID Physical Therapy were hoping to meet a local golf or tennis professional and get tips to bring back to class.

Students interested in a dental future had the choice of touring the brand new Loma Linda University School of Dental Hygiene or shadowing Dr. Ellie Love, a skilled Periodontist in Rancho Mirage. These wonderful partners showed our future leaders the importance of oral hygiene and the tools of their trade.

Most importantly, students engaged professionals by asking personal, intimate questions. Students learned a lot about careers they may not have considered. Time spent with family and friends, and compensation and benefits were all topics explored with their mentoring professionals, as each considered their potential future occupation.

Our business partners were also introduced to their future workforce, and had the opportunity to hear the students’ thoughts and ideas about business strategy and digital communication.

Experiences were shared, knowledge was gained, and a meaningful experience was had by all.  As the school year progresses, the students will share these experiences with their colleagues and prepare for their next job shadow opportunity, only a few months away.

If you are interested in hosting students from this health academy, please contact Kyle Bashore, HEAL Teacher, Cathedral City High School at [email protected] or Donna Sturgeon, Director, Work-Based Learning, CVEP at [email protected]

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