Valley Springs Students Meet Governor
Valley Springs Students Meet Governor
Posted on 03/27/2018
Gov. Roy Cooper talks to Valley Springs Middle School students at Mission Health on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications

It’s not every day you take a field trip to meet the governor, but that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday to a few lucky Valley Springs Middle School students.

The eighth-graders were at Mission Health on Tuesday for the very first Students@Work Week (March 26-28), which brought students to various local businesses this week for a first-hand look at 21st Century skills and career pathways. Before the tours began, Gov. Roy Cooper took the floor in a conference room. He praised the program and encouraged students to prepare for a tomorrow filled with new jobs in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and cybersecurity.

“The world of work and the job market out there is changing dramatically,” he said. “When you guys graduate from high school, there will be thousands of jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. … You’ve got a lot of open pathways.”

Cooper said he wants to see more businesses get involved with training the workforce.

“Hundreds of businesses are already doing that all across North Carolina,” he said. “There are apprenticeships and internships available, and we want you to take advantage of that work-based learning.”

Exploring Medical Careers

When you guys graduate from high school, there will be thousands of jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. … You’ve got a lot of open pathways.” -- N.C. Gov. Roy CooperThe group of about 30 Valley Springs students had a wide range of career interests, from journalism to teaching to radiology. But they listened intently as Mission Health presenters described their work – it’s way more than doctors and nurses.

“We have a lot of people who are in kind of hidden professions that they’ve worked really hard to get into,” said Mission Health career exploration consultant Megan Lemmond. “Getting to show students that behind-the-curtain view makes them really proud, and the students learn about positions they may have never known about.”

Respiratory therapist and Buncombe County Board of Education member Amy Churchill joined respiratory therapy educator Mandi Ballinger for a demonstration that compared two real lungs – one normal and one diseased, which were hooked up to a breathing machine. The students got to touch the lungs with gloved hands and hear about the dangers of smoking.

“It was interesting to see how much smoking affects your lungs, how it can make them not work at all,” said Lauren, a Valley Springs eighth-grader.

The students also got to look inside a working ambulance and hear about how the hospital uses therapy dogs to comfort patients.

“It’s really cool to see all the stuff you don’t normally see when you think of a hospital,” said eight-grader Andrew. “You know it’s there, but it’s really cool to see it in person.”

“We’re really proud to be part of this experience that helps middle school students see the opportunities that exist in the workplace,” said Mission Health President and CEO Dr. Ronald Paulus. “There’s so much demand that’s occurring in the healthcare environment and lots of careers available.

Students@Work Week is a project of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) in partnership with, the Governor’s Office and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). The goal is for North Carolina businesses to help middle school students in their community see the opportunities that exist in the workplace.
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