Workplace learning offered
Washington, Mid-Prairie, and Highland High School students will have an opportunity to participate in job shadows, internships, and mock interviews again this year through the Workplace Learning Connection program.
At Washington High School the job shadows and internships are available for 10th through 12th grades, said Washington High School guidance counselor Kathy Stender. Mock interviews are also available for ninth through 12th grades.
Stender said there is one big benefit for students who participate in the program.
“It’s better to know whether you would like to pursue the career or even if you’re going to absolutely hate it,” she said.
Job shadows and internships give students exposure to what the career would be like before they decide to pursue it in college, Stender said.
She likes to speak with students who are considering a specific job shadow or internship before they apply.
“I like to have a conversation with the student as well as the advisory teacher to ask the student, ‘Why are you interested in this career?’ ” Stender said. “What do you see in it that’s really getting you excited and wanting you to do a job shadow because it’s not just a day out of school. There’s a lot of pre-work and post-work that goes into the job shadow.”
Some of the pre-work includes filling out the application and making sure it’s neat, which is due at Washington High School by Sept. 13. Some of the post-work includes thank-you letters to local businesses that have participated in the job shadow or internships, or apology letters if a student misses his or her appointment.
“We need to make sure the students are responsible and understand their role when they do a job shadow,” Stender said. “Not only just place them for what they want to do but understand there’s more work to it than just taking a day off of school.”
Nancy Young, department coordinator for Workplace Learning Connection, said the program began at Washington High School and the ASSURE center in 2011. In 2011, 45 students participated in job shadows and one student from the ASSURE Center did an internship. Last year the Washington Community School District (WCSD) had 24 students participate in job shadows. No one participated in the internship program.
Sarah Kos, guidance counselor at Mid-Prairie High School, agrees with Stender about the benefits of having experience in the work force before choosing a career path.
“You can’t get any better experience than going out in the real world and actually doing it,” Kos said. “It has been a great program for the students.”
Mid-Prairie High School also has job shadows for 10th through 12th graders and internships for twelfth graders, Kos said. Mock interviews were held for the first time last year that the ninth-graders participated in. Kos didn’t know how many students participated in the program last year because this is her first year as the liaison for it at the high school.
The application is due by Sept. 20 at Mid-Prairie High School.
Deb Horning, guidance counselor at Highland Community School District’s High School, said last year there were almost 40 students from 10th through 12th grades who did the job shadows, 25 students from 10th through 12th grades who participated in the mock interviews, and four 12th graders who participated in the internship program.
The deadline for Highland students application is Friday, Sept. 6.
Students who are interested in participating in the program can contact their high school guidance counselor for more information. The program is through Kirkwood Community College and uses several businesses in Washington and Johnson County for the job shadows and internships.