Career Center Creates Pipeline of Skilled Workers Through Certification
It is 3 p.m. and the last bell rings through the halls. Students frantically race their classmates, rushing to be the first out the door.
But not all students.
Since noon, Grace Bronnenberg, a senior at Blue River Valley High School, has been working at Country Acre Veterinary Clinic. Grace is certified in Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications. She’s also a student in New Castle Career Center’s (NCCC) Veterinary Science Career Program, so while working, she is gaining valuable, hands-on experience in the veterinary industry, in preparation for her future career.
Around the world, Elanco is known for enhancing animal well-being. Thanks to the Elanco Certification, individuals like Bronnenberg can tap into Elanco’s respected reputation in the animal industry. Tested for on the iCEV platform, the Elanco Certification is available to individuals interested in proving they have a fundamental knowledge of the veterinary industry, from high school students preparing for college and/or the workforce to employed professionals looking to enhance their career opportunities.
Melody Warner is Bronnenberg’s Veterinary Science Career Program instructor at NCCC in New Castle, Indiana. Warner began teaching the veterinary science program 10 years ago when the state of Indiana did not yet have curriculum standards for the class.
Before the Elanco Certification was utilized at NCCC, Warner’s advisory committee noted students could perform skills but were lacking standardized foundational knowledge of the industry. In response, the program implemented the Elanco Certification in 2017.
“It made sense,” Warner said. “The certification could provide a knowledge-base standard for Indiana students continuing for the second year in Veterinary Careers. If students don’t pass the certification, they are not moving on to the second-year program.”
Forty-five students have earned the Elanco Certification in Warner’s program in 2017 and 2018 combined, and all completed 40-hour internships in their first year of the program and 540-hour, year-long externships in their second year.
“The veterinarians, shelters and other animal facilities have noticed an increase in the knowledge base of students,” Warner said. “The veterinary program was good prior to providing the Elanco Certification, but this added another level to the program. I found the certification to have rigor and covered standards through all species, body systems and skills.”
“The veterinarians, shelters and other animal facilities have noticed an increase in the knowledge base of students.”
In students’ junior year of high school, their first year of the program, they learn basic animal care and assist veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians with clinical, medical and surgical procedures, fill prescriptions, perform office procedures, maintain inventory, interact with clients and maintain the hospital environment. In addition to classroom work, second-year program students complete externships with local area veterinarians and shelters to earn clinical hours.
“It is a lot of work for students, especially since most is done outside the classroom,” Warner said. “The certification has moved my students forward. Their confidence is greater, thus allowing them to go forth and master the skills necessary for entry-level positions.”
Warner said the certification also assists students academically as they move forward with post-secondary education options. Students take different paths with the certification. One student was accepted into the International Business College Veterinary Technician Program. Meanwhile, Bronnenberg plans to attend Purdue University to major in animal science with a concentration in pre-veterinary medicine and later attend veterinary school.
“The Elanco Certification is definitely worth the studying and effort,” said Bronnenberg. “Having the certification helps prove my skills over those who don’t have it. The certification has helped me to prove that I know what is required to succeed. The people in the industry are very dedicated and helpful, and I feel that I can truly make a difference in this field.”
Local veterinary facilities notice the consistency in veterinary industry knowledge among NCCC’s students with the Elanco Certification, Warner said.
“Several area facilities look to hire my students first,” Warner said. “My students have a leg up on others in this industry because they have a solid foundation to build upon. Less instruction and supervision are needed when employed.”
“My students have a leg up on others in this industry because they have a solid foundation to build upon. Less instruction and supervision are needed when employed.”
Because the program has gained so much respect, it is easier for students to obtain internships than it was before the program offered the Elanco Certification.
“I do feel the certification has helped to develop that respect,” Warner said. “I am told on a regular basis that sites are happy to bring on my students for internships, for they are prepared and knowledgeable.”
Elanco has certified more than 2,000 students in Veterinary Medical Applications nationwide since 2016. This certification is also applicable to jobs in health and animal science industries. The Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications Certification is jump-starting individuals’ careers and allowing employers to identify and connect with more skilled candidates, thus filling gaps in the labor market. Visit www.icevonline.com/vetmed to learn more.