The Vail School District is partnering with Banner-University Medical Center to offer internships to high school seniors.

With the district governing board’s approval this week, Vail’s students would soon get to experience working in a real hospital environment at Banner’s facilities.

Students would mostly be shadowing their mentors, who could be doctors, nurses or other health-care professionals, or participating in non-patient related tasks, in various units of Banner’s hospitals, said Aron Schmidt, the district’s director of high school instruction and career and technical education.

The hospital internship is part of a larger effort by the district to give seniors work experience across career fields, he said. Fifty students are on their way to completing 124-hour internships at big and small businesses around town, including the Saguaro National Park, Raytheon and the Reid Park Zoo.

On top of giving work experience, the internship program is designed to also provide training on professionalism, he said. That could include anything from dressing for work to interviewing. “We put a significant amount of time working with the students on those activities so they can be comfortable when they show up,” he said.

Vail district has had students intern at health-care facilities before, but the agreement would allow for a more solid partnership, he said.

“For us, this is a big deal,” Schmidt said. “What we’re always best trying to do is meet the needs of our community and the community wants more opportunities for kids to pursue medical careers.”

Students do not necessarily need to be enrolled in specific Joint Technical Education District courses to apply for the Banner-UMC internship, said Lindsey Wahl, an internship and outreach specialist for Vail district. But it is required that they be in good academic standing.

Once students are accepted into the internship program, they will be interviewed by their potential mentors and the mentors will decide what is appropriate to do for the students, she said.

Banner has partnerships with several high schools across the country, including locally with Marana and Amphitheater school districts, said Laura Hadley, director of Banner Center for Health Careers.

“We want to help encourage the next generation to explore careers in health-care fields,” she said.

Contact reporter Yoohyun Jung at 573-4243 or On Twitter: @yoohyun_jung