By Ryan Cornell
MIDDLETOWN -- Had anyone asked if there was a doctor in the house, the answer would've been a resounding yes.
A combined job and college fair at Lord Fairfax Community College brought about 50 employers from the health care industry and medical schools from all across the commonwealth to the Corron Community Development Center on Thursday afternoon.
Students from LFCC and interested people from the local community attended the first ever "Healthcare Professions Job Fair and Continuing Education Event," moving from booth to booth and meeting with medical professionals from services such as Valley Health, Shenandoah University and Greenfield Senior Living.
Resembling something akin to a Halloween display, a skeleton, skull and the X-ray of a patient with scoliosis topped one table. Three representatives from the Winchester Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology were recruiting students with associate's degrees to join the school.
First-year medical student Andrew Medina said the school offers a hands-on, one-on-one experience with patients in the various hospitals of the Valley Health system.
"Within three months, we were already on the floor with other students," he said. "Other universities may not let you do that."
Medina said that students have to graduate from the two-year radiologic technology program before heading into a specialty such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or mammography.
Across the room, a booth for the Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury senior living community was looking for students to fill its open clinical positions.
Cindy Hunter, director of human resources at the Winchester community, said she was very pleased with how the fair turned out.
"There's been a lot of interest," she said. "A lot of information sharing."
Diamond LaCroix, 22, and Valerie Hutzell, 17, listened to a representative from the Chamberlain College of Nursing speak about the programs they offer.
LaCroix, a student in the Associates Degree in Nursing program at LFCC, said the fair was an opportunity for her to look at what she'll be doing and where she might go after LFCC.
She said she liked the nursing programs at Chamberlain College because they're all online and it seems to be a faster program with no required on-site clinicals.
"This would've been helpful when I started [the nursing program]," she said.
Hutzell, a student at Warren County High School who will be attending LFCC next year, said she wants to head into a health care profession. She said she learned about what classes she should take at the community college that would transfer over to a university.
"I'm really glad I found out about this," she said.
Janet Finley, a client services assistant at the college who helped organize the fair, said she hopes this will become an annual event.
During the fair, she was asking guests if they were making good contacts.
"Several of them were looking for schools," she said. "And one of them in particular said, 'Yes, I was able to narrow down my choice between one or two schools.'"
This event was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Education and Training Administration through a grant under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org