VCA Valley Animal Hospital strives to interest students in veterinary medicine

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – VCA Valley Animal Hospital is partnering with the Vet Set Go organization in hopes of getting kids interested in caring for animals to help with labor shortages .

Between January 2019 and May 2021, the American Veterinary Medical Association reported 18 open positions for every veterinarian seeking employment. An increase in the number of people adopting pets during the pandemic has not helped the labor shortage.

Vet Set Go targets elementary through high school students, giving them the opportunity to learn and work alongside veterinarians across the country. Timbrala Marshall, director of equity, inclusion and diversity for VCA Animal Hospitals, said the organization could be the long-term solution.

“The students have real vet students, doctors and vet techs to help train them and see what life is like as a vet. It’s pretty exciting for these young people because they’ve been dreaming about it and now they can,” Marshall said. “We know this won’t change this need that we have overnight, but we think it’s the first step to really creating a pathway.”

Through Vet Set Go, students can apply for scholarships for summer camp at Auburn University or take online courses to receive a Veterinary Observation Certificate. Marshall said early education in the industry can help students progress into future schooling opportunities.

“What we’re trying to do with this partnership through VCA with Vet Set Go is create these opportunities for younger students because most vets decide they want to be vets at a young age,” Marshall said.

Through the website, you can search for learning and shadowing opportunities statewide. Here at home, Reid Park Zoo is currently accepting applications for a zoo crew.

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Benjamin M. Yerger