This past Wednesday, about 100 Kenai Central High School juniors had the opportunity to get some hands-on experience in the local work force as part of the school’s annual Job Shadow Day program.
Now in its 23rd year, the program continues to be a successful collaboration between the school, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, the Peninsula Job Center and dozens of area businesses willing to give students a taste of just what a day at the office is like.
Prior to Job Shadow Day, students spend time researching careers that interest them. They learn important job search skills, such as how to write a resume and cover letter. When it comes time to apply for that first job, that might be the most important experience to take away from the day.
From there, organizers match students up with members of the local business community, where students have the chance to see just how close their expectations come to the actual job experience. While it’s just half a day on the job, students have the chance to learn about the education and training needed to land a job in their chosen field. And with a taste of an actual work day, they might also find that they might want to consider a different career.
Either way, the opportunity can be a valuable experience.
Following their time in the field, students regrouped and heard from Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and Kenai Police Chief Dave Ross — both Kenai Central graduates who shared some wisdom gleaned from their own career paths.
Organizing the event is an impressive undertaking, especially considering the number of businesses willing to participate. While there are some careers that have yet to find their way to the Kenai Peninsula, there is still a diverse business community here and Job Shadow Day wouldn’t work if only a few of them were willing to participate.
Beyond some good career advice, Job Shadow Day has another significant impact in enhancing the relationship between the community and the school. As much as we hope for a positive experience for students, we hope their job shadow hosts were left with a positive impression, too. After all, in just a few short years, those students will be entering the work force, and looking for employment with some of the same businesses that were involved in Wednesday’s event.
A big thank you is in order for making Job Shadow Day such a long running success. When dedicated organizers, enthusiastic students and willing participants from the business community all come together, it’s a winning situation for everyone involved.