The nation’s only Job Shadow program turned the legal age of 21 last week as over 120 high school juniors from Kenai Central High School left their classrooms for a day in the real world. “Other places may have job fairs, but nothing like this that is a partnership between the high school, counselors, the Chamber of Commerce and the State Job Center,” said Johna Beech, CEO for the Kenai Chamber. Beech says it’s not just a day out of school, but a day for students to experience what careers are available right here in their own back yard and for employers to let students what it takes to be successful in that career.
According to the Job Center there are more jobs available in the local area in the field of health care than any other industry and interest was also high among students as Central Peninsula Hospital hosted 16 shadows for the day. The student’s interest in health care was far broader than the traditional doctor or nurse careers but many were interested in computer data basing and bio-medical engineering, “We basically take care of all the medical equipment from maintenance to preventive maintenance to repairs and keeping a data base of all the equipment in the hospital,” explained CPH bio-tech Karen. Her shadow for the day was Donalen Bowers who had given the profession a lot of thought before her day in the real world, “I’ve been interested in the health care field since my freshman year, but when thinking about being a doctor or nurse I could never find the right fit for me. Then I found that as a bio-tech engineer you don’t always have to work with a patient yet you are contributing to their care and health by what you are doing and assisting the doctors to better at what they do. What I learned today makes the profession look better to me than ever,” said Bowers.
Meanwhile, Michael Crowder was shadowing SPD officer Clary because his interest is in law enforcement, “I’ve been thinking about it for a few years because I’m thinking of serving in the military and looking for options after that where I could help people,” Crowder told the Dispatch after having assisted officer Clary in a couple of incidents, “The program doesn’t interfere with our regular duties at all, we had a busy morning making one arrest in a domestic violence call and he also got to witness an intoxicated person that ended with a protective custody arrest as well,” said Clary. “Witnessing what law enforcement does made me glad that they are out there and doing a good job, when someone is intoxicated that early in the morning out in public it can become a disturbance and public safety issue to the rest of the community,” added Crowder.
At the end of the day shadows and their mentors were treated to lunch provided by Arby’s, McDonalds, Paradosis and Coke. The began with Job Shadow Mayor for the Day Kerri Ann Leavitt reading an official proclamation and congratulating KCHS principal Allen Fields and language arts teacher Kyle Cater for a job well done. The proclamation in part read WHEREAS, Kenai Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Kenai Central High School Job Shadow Day in Kenai, Alaska. And Whereas, Job shadowing is an opportunity designed to teach students in the art of preparing resumes, cover letters, and learning how to properly present themselves during interviews. And Whereas, Our Junior Class is appreciative of this opportunity to investigate future careers. And Whereas, We are also very appreciative of our teacher’s commitment to make sure our assignments were done in a timely manner and ignored our repeated complaining during the lesson process. All your efforts were well worth our reward! And Whereas, Our Junior Class wishes to thank the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, professionals, volunteers, Kenai Christian Church, food vendors for making this day possible.
Now, therefore, I, Mayor Kerri Ann Leavitt, on behalf of the Kenai City Council, do hereby declare March 18, 2015 Job Shadow Day in Kenai, Alaska.