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group photo in front of VA Oceanside clinic

Technical Career Field Intern (TCF) Randy Fry, right, helps volunteer Gene Gilbert with administrative paperwork at the San Diego VA Medical Center. Photo by Christopher Menzie.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spotlight: Technical Career Field Program offers new options

After ten years working at two Veterans Affairs hospitals, San Diego VA employee Randolph Fry chose to further his career by becoming a Technical Career Field (TCF) intern. 

“For many people, it would seem like a step back but for me it was a step forward,” said Fry, who works in the Voluntary Service Department. “Being a TCF intern helped me to not only start anew, but also gave me the freedom to find a position that makes me happy and has opportunity for advancement.”

The TCF Program is a comprehensive two-year position that trains candidates for specialized jobs within the Veterans Health Administration. Candidates are selected from employment postings to enter one of 18 different career fields located at VA Hospitals nationwide. Locations vary by need, and specialties range from administrative to engineering related in nature. At the completion of the program, all interns are awarded positions in their respective field.

All Interns must sign a mobility clause before entering the TCF program that will give them flexibility to transfer after their training is complete. If and where they go is determined by the nationwide demand for the position, the needs of their VA medical center and desires of the candidate. If there are no positions available at the current VA where the intern completed the program, he or she will transfer to a position around the country where there is a current vacancy.

Nearly half way through his two-year training program with Volunteer Service, Fry hopes to stay in San Diego and someday be in a leadership role. In the meantime, he’s happy with day-to-day affairs.

“Voluntary Service brings so much instant gratification to my life in seeing the joy we provide Veterans and their reaction,” said Fry. “It helps me get a clearer view of the VA’s mission. Veteran care is a lot more than doctors and nurses - It’s all about the work by dedicated employees like the TCF intern that helps create a lasting positive experience for the patient. That’s our business.”
 
To learn more about the TCF Program, visit http://www.vacareers.va.gov/VACAREERS/students-trainees/technical-field.asp.