A-Tech trains healthcare staff for the longer term | information

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — The growing need for health professionals has prompted instructors at the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus Health Care Academy to work even harder to prepare students for future jobs in the area.

Marybeth Betteys (Pharmacy Technician), Shannon Piper (Dental Assistant) and Ashley Gillette (Nursing Assistant) work together to help students at A-Tech advance their careers. All three have been in their professions for many years and continue to keep up to date with the latest innovations in their fields.

The two-year program involves the three teachers working together to teach the juniors the basics of all three areas and then work with the seniors to focus on their specialty. 34 students are currently studying in the three programs.

Betteys is a 2004 graduate of Conneaut High School, who then received her certification as a pharmacist from the Great Lakes Institute of Technology and worked for Walgreen’s for nine years.

A-Tech decided to start a program for pharmacy technicians and she was hired to lead the program 11 years ago.

“Every year I have a student on an early internship,” Betteys said.

The program was the fourth in the state of Ohio to be certified in 2020-21. This has helped the students to enter the labor market faster.

“They can get their board exam and work before they’re 18,” Betteys said.

Each of the teachers have advisory boards of people in each of the three subject areas who help keep the programs current, and many give back to the programs as visiting faculty.

“They get our kid jobs,” Betteys said.

Two of the pharmacy tech students have worked for many years and are preparing to complete their Doctor of Pharmacy (a six-year program) to become full-fledged pharmacists, Betteys said. She said Austin Reece and Dalton Talsu continued to reach out to students at A-Tech.

The need for medical staff has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I get calls all the time,” Betteys said.

Shannon Piper graduated from the Dental Assistant program in 2000 after deciding to pursue her passion rather than take the college prep route.

“I decided to come here and it changed my life,” she said.

“In my senior year I got a job at Ashtabula Dental. I still work there in the summer,” she said.

She also received multiple certifications to enhance her marketability and role at the facility.

Piper said there is a great need for dental assistants. She said 17 are currently needed in the area and 10 are available.

“Everyone has a job,” she says.

The older students do their academic work in the morning and are at work in the late morning.

Ashley Gillette also began her career at Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School, now A-Tech, and after earning her Assistant Tech degree during high school, she earned her Licensed Practical Nursing Certification and Certified Nursing Certification at A-Tech.

She later finished her Bachelor of Science degree and decided to pursue teaching, but keeps her foot in the hospital world by working shifts when she can in the Ashtabula County Medical Center emergency room.

“I love the fast pace of the ER,” Gillette said.

In addition, she enjoys teaching.

“I love seeing their faces light up,” she said of the students as they understand the material.

Gillette said COVID-19 has increased demand for nurses and nursing assistants as many decided to leave the field. She said the nursing assistant program allows graduates to work in nursing homes, home nursing and rehabilitation centers.

dr Ashtabula Dental’s Michael C. Civik said there is a great demand for dental assistants and the school is helping to fill that need.

“A-Tech has been a great resource for us, past and present. It [dental assistants] is a very exhausted market,” he said.

According to Civik, students are trained in sterilization and then rotate between different dentists.

Maddi Clint, a senior who works at Ashtabula Dental, said she decided to give it a try after a difficult experience at a dental office. She hopes to help people have a better chairside experience.

A-Tech Superintendent Scott Wludyga said the opportunities offered by the program are truly amazing.

“We are grateful for the many community partners who help us deliver meaningful work-based learning experiences. Our three instructors do a great job working with their advisory committees to connect our students with dental offices and medical facilities across the county,” he said.

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