Stepping into reality: BACC prepares students for future careers

Emma Gilbert, Reporter

The Bloomington Area Career Center (BACC), connected to Bloomington High School,  is a series of programs to help students go towards their chosen careers. According to their website, their mission is to “ help educate students to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to become happy, healthy and productive adults in their chosen career…”

Many programs are offered through BACC. The most popular and needed program is the nursing program and Health Careers & medical terminology. Due to the shortage of nurses and doctors caused by the pandemic nurses are desperately needed.

According to school counselor Courtney O’Connor, BACC is introduced to students during sophomore year, and allows students to apply for junior and senior year. This year, there are two nursing students, two Advanced CNA (certified nursing assistant) students, and two Health Careers and Medical terminology students. 

“Our most popular program students are interested in is nursing,” O’Connor said. “They (the field of nursing) have such a high demand and can help many other people.”

The nursing program focuses on learning the CNA requirements and information to become a certified nurse assistant. Students go into a nursing home to get hands-on experience. The advanced CNA program is for students who completed the CNA program. They enter hospitals and work on specific units they are assigned to. 

Senior Alison Heller is a part of the Advanced CNA program.  In her class, she gets lessons and hands-on work in the hospital. 

“The best part of BACC is being able to have these opportunities at such a young age,” Heller said.”

Heller is assigned to the mother-baby unit through the program and goes twice a week to help out and get nursing experience. One of Heller’s responsibilities is she gets to clean the baby after it’s born and passes it onto the mother. 

“The most rewarding part of what I do is seeing the mothers reaction after the baby is all clean, and seeing both their faces when the skin-to-skin contact happens,” Heller said. 

Clinical instructor Christi Wingate is a 14-year representative and program coordinator of BACC. She advises students to take every learning opportunity in nursing school especially under an instructor’s guidance.

“Seeing the students who struggle academically achieve their skills and goals and see their happiness and proudness in themselves is why I do what I do,” Wingate said.

O’Connor said BACC offers important opportunities for students.

“BACC helps give hands-on and real-world experience to our students which is beneficial in their chosen career,” O’Connor said. “Students are also able to meet professionals in those fields that may lead to internships and job opportunities in the future.”