Job Shadow Day for Kenai Central High School juniors was Feb. 22 this year.
For more than two decades the Kenai Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with the faculty at KCHS to give juniors a chance to select a career of interest and spend a day experiencing the real world of that career or work place.
Johna Beech, CEO of the Kenai Chamber & Visitor Center explained, “One of the challenges we have with youth is they may have a dream of what they want to do and many times there is a six-year gap from their dream to reality while they get the necessary education. And that reality may turn out to be more of a nightmare than their dream, so this allows them to step into the workforce and see if that’s really what they want to do with the rest of their life or pursue an alternate career path. With our Job Shadow program we have had some students that have had their mind’s changed and that has saved them a lot of time and money in the long run and others have found their passion, pursued that profession and today are back practicing in our community.”
According to Beech, about 98 students were placed in some 35 businesses this year, which took a massive amount of coordination.
Allan Fields is the principal at KCHS and told the Dispatch, “Our staff works with the Chamber and the Job Center who schools the kids on resume writing and presenting themselves appropriately at the businesses where they go to shadow. The thing is, it’s such a great program, but it’s the amount of coordination that is really something that I am proud of with our school faculty and community. So many people want to do the program but they can’t even get past wrapping their mind around how much work it takes by a group of individuals. I get many calls inquiring how we do Job Shadow at our school and then that’s the end of it people don’t just pick it up and run with it because they can’t get past the amount of work it takes.”
Medical and health care were the most popular fields this year among the junior class.
“The students do a lot of research before they shadow a career looking at how much money you may earn, how much education and where its available so it’s a learning experience regardless if they pursue that field or not. And if not they know how to go back to the drawing board and research another field, but they have gained the skills to do that,” added Fields.
Tim Jordan of Northern Technologies hosted three Job Shadows for the day.
“Everybody uses technology these days, distance education programs are growing and we are sort of forced to use it in getting our education now so I thought getting an up close look at a local business would let me see what might come out of it for me,” said Casey Paxton.
Jon Taylor of Artistic Puppy and Jasmine’s Hair Design teamed up to host a Job Shadow.
“Every year I get the chance to show the next generation of artists the joy of creativity,” Taylor said. “This year, Olivia Daniels and I partnered with Jasmin’s Hair Design and Jasmin’s student shadow to get creative. A good team always pulls of the best art, and that is exactly what happened here, from trying to get the paint right to the complicated lighting set up, we all joined together to create. Today has been truly magical. The concept started as a celebration of color, since vibrant color has been at the center of my photographic vision from the beginning. Olivia, our shadow had the idea to use white, which initially seemed to be the opposite of the celebration of color, until I realized that she was right; white would draw striking attention to the color present in the model and the environment. So we actually learned from each other and had an incredible day and made a great photo.”