The following segment originally aired on NBC.

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Students at Crown Point Central School got a rare opportunity on September 19 to work alongside a renowned trauma surgeon. They also got a glimpse into the future of healthcare and how to take advantage of the growing number of good paying jobs.

Dr. John Fortune told a room full of sophomores and juniors that America’s aging population will require the care of more nurses, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, pharmacists, home health providers and other healthcare professionals. The demand for nurses alone, he said, will increase from 16 million in 2018 to more 22.5 million by 2025.

“There’s a huge potential market for you as a healthcare provider,” said Fortune, a professor in the Division of Acute Care Surgery at UVM’s Robert Larner College of Medicine. “The first question you have to ask yourself is why do I want to be a healthcare provider? One of the main answers to that question is job security.”

The interactive event kicked off a STEM/Health Care Careers program sponsored by the Fortune Family Foundation in conjunction with CFES Brilliant Pathways. The year-long healthcare readiness program will be piloted in 12 schools in the Adirondacks, which are part CFES’ network of 200 schools in 30 states and Ireland.

“I was surprised to hear how good the pay was for some of these jobs,” said junior Cameron Harrington. “There’s a lot more opportunity than I thought even with just a two-year degree.”

Fortune challenged students to explore the emerging jobs in healthcare and STEM-related fields to see which ones they found most appealing. “When you consider whether to pursue some of these highly gratifying jobs we want you to be able to answer the question: ‘is this for me?’”

To get them started, Fortune had students measure oxygen saturation and heart rates like a nurse; draw blood from a surgical manikin arm like a phlebotomist; and tie a suture like an emergency room doctor or surgeon. “It’s better to get hands-on experience like this than just being told what you should do,” said sophomore Gavin Sours. “I feel like it helps you know if you really want to do this for a career. This really opened you up to new ideas and possible careers.”

“We want to let students know that they don’t necessarily have to go to college for four, six or even eight years to get all of the benefits of a career in healthcare,” said CFES Program Director Elaine Dixon-Cross, who previously served as principal at Crown Point Central.