How do you get experience for a job without experience?
Well, in the case of the interns working at Medina Vision and Laser Centre, one of their options is that you attend the Medina County Career Center (www.mcjvs.edu) in their Optical Technology program. This program teaches students about common eye disorders, testing for visual acuity, depth perception, color blindness, and proper use of optical instruments, prescription analysis and fitting technologies.
Between the first and second year of the program (typically Junior and Senior year), students have the opportunity to participate in a summer internship program. They are utilizing first year skills such as Optical Measurements, Preliminary testing, Frame adjustments and repairs, and ordering glasses (which is not as easy as it sounds). During the second or Senior year, students have another opportunity to work in the optical field. If they have a job in the field, they may participate in work placement (going to work instead of lab). At this point they have learned first aid and CPR, Contact lenses, lens manufacturing processes, office procedures, privacy laws and worked doing local school vision screenings. Both of these opportunities give students a chance to use the skills they have learned in lab and gain invaluable experience. This experience is expected to be shared with the rest of the class. At graduation, students receive a certificate and a career passport, which shows all of the achievements they have made during school. Students are also encouraged to work with a licensed optician for two years and become eligible to sit for the national Optician Competency Examination (NOCE) and the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE).
At Medina Vision Laser Center (MVLC) we have interns that work for us through this program to help promote bringing young people into our field. We have students who start work immediately after graduating, and we have students who are planning to go on for degrees in optometry. Students are also able to become Optometric/Ophthalmic assistants, Optical laboratory technicians, Optical Sales Representatives or even an apprentice Optician. Some of our patients may not know that they are working with a student. But perhaps if it is their first week, you may wonder why we have someone working here who doesn’t seem to know the ropes just yet. We have them here, because we want them to learn the best possible level of care for clients. We want to teach them what it takes to be successful in business, and encourage them to expand their horizons in a field that we love.
Dr. Earley states:” We typically hire the interns during the summer after their junior year as part of the career center’s summer internship program. If the internship goes well, we hire them for part-time work after school during the school year. The same student can do a second internship after their senior year if they choose. Most students do not, as they are already on our payroll. This frees up a spot for another student who’s just completed his/her junior year to do an internship. It allows us to train more students, give more students some real world experience, and replace those students who are heading off to college.
This brings us to our second program that we currently support. “The Summer Work Employment Program (SWE) is a locally funded initiative sponsored by Medina Works that provides Medina youth ages 16 to 19 constructive summer work experiences through subsidized placements in the private and government sectors.” Here is a link to their program.
This opportunity for students to earn money while gaining meaningful experience also helps the student learn what skills, attitudes and commitment is necessary to succeed in the working world. We are excited to offer a career opportunity to a deserving young person who will get to work along with our professionals, gaining insight and experience. This program also leads to further educational choices and opportunities, and an enhanced resume. The program also strives for motivation to acquire work skills, finish getting their education as well as finding a facet of employment that they might find satisfying. Students are also helped with career counseling for 12 months after graduation to ensure job retention and a successful journey into the work force.
Medina Vision and Laser Centre would encourage all businesses to see how your skills can mentor the next generation of service providers. We especially encourage all those in the Optometric field to help develop the interest and skills of the future representatives of our field.
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