Banfield Pet Hospital – the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the U.S. – has announced the inaugural class of its NextVet internship program as part of the practice’s recent commitment towards expanding its Educational Pathways program for future and current veterinary professionals. Beginning this summer, 15 high school students – each with an extraordinary drive and passion for pets – will take part in a paid opp-purr-tunity of a lifetime in Banfield hospital locations across eight cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland-Vancouver and Washington D.C.
The NextVet internship program offers a valuable immersive experience, with students learning first-hand about careers in companion animal medicine from practice leaders, industry experts and Banfield’s passionate and caring hospital teams. To extend opportunities beyond the 2022 class of interns, Banfield also offered pet care assistant roles to 10 highly qualified internship applicants.
To continue to create opportunities and inspire future veterinary professionals at every step of their academic journey, the practice is announcing for the second year in a row a national, year-long partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America focused on reaching K-12 students from underrepresented backgrounds through a series of career outreach events.
These initiatives were recently recognized by Fast Company as a World Changing Idea, with Banfield’s Educational Pathways program honored in both the Corporate Social Responsibility and Education categories for the practice’s efforts to address the veterinary workforce and diversity crisis.
New research commissioned by Mars Veterinary Health underscores this need, finding that the profession is facing a chronic shortage of veterinary professionals, with a longstanding lack of diversity in the industry playing a critical role.
“Banfield believes firmly that there’s an intersection between strengthening the veterinary talent pipeline and diversifying the profession,” said Melissa Marshall, Banfield’s vice president of people and organization. “By continuing to remove barriers to equitable education through the expansion of Banfield’s Educational Pathways program, we’re creating more accessible pathways for current and aspiring veterinary professionals. Our goal is to help create a more sustainable industry so we can best serve people, pets and communities.”
Banfield is devoting significant resources toward Educational Pathways to make an impact on Associates. This includes the recent expansion of the practice’s partnership with InStride, which now provides paraprofessionals Banfield-paid tuition to complete an online undergraduate degree in marketing, IT and general business – in addition to STEM and pre-veterinary medicine. Associates now also have more flexibility on start dates and the option to earn their high school diploma at no cost.
Other important Educational Pathways efforts include Banfield’s Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program. Since the program launched, the practice has contributed more than $20 million toward helping veterinarians pay off student loans and enabled more than $17 million in educational debt refinancing for Associates.
To help address the market demand for skilled veterinary professionals – particularly in rural communities – Banfield also continues to invest in the development of a new online Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology program at Appalachian State University. App State is accepting applications through July 1, 2022 for the first class which begins this fall. For more information on the program or to apply, visit the App State Online vet tech program page.
Follow the journey of the NextVet interns @BanfieldLife and #NextVet and stay up to date on the 2023 NextVet application process here.