More than a hundred Kenai Central High School students join the workforce for the day Wednesday, as part of the annual Job Shadow Day.
Job Shadow Day, now in its 20th year, is a joint program between Kenai Central High School and the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. High school juniors are matched with local businesses for a hands-on experience in a number of different career areas.
KCHS Principal Alan Fields said that about 125 students are given a day to shadow a worker and experience the job of their host. Students have the opportunity to understand what the job is like and if they might enjoy that type of career.
The school faces a huge logistical challenge transporting more than a hundred students to different businesses, from the refineries and oil industry businesses of Nikiski to the hospital and police station in Soldotna.
Fields said he appreciates the community support and would like to see it the community continue supporting the program.
Johna Beech, president and chief operating officer for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, said that about 56 businesses are involved with the Job Shadow Day. This is her third year working with this program and she said KCHS is the only school in the United States that puts on a job shadow program of this type.
One challenge the chamber faces in putting the program together is the size of the community and the heavy burden on some of the businesses. The hospital alone has accepted about 24 students for the Job Shadow Day.
Beech said that one of the most exciting things about it is that it gives students the opportunity to join the work force for the day, giving them the chance to experience that job.
The opportunity can help them decide whether they really want to pursue the career they chose, or perhaps they want to look for a different goal after their job shadow experience.
Volunteer Coordinator at Central Peninsula Hospital Jim Childers said that things students do include working in the clinical lab. Some students learned how to be radiologists, while others learned about anesthesiology.
Childers also said that a couple of challenges they face about having students come is the lack of space, especially in the operating room. Also, confidentiality is stressed and students are asked to not talk about certain details of their experience outside of the hospital.
Some of the pros about having the students come to the hospital is that they are exposed to the health and medical field, and hopefully encouraged to become more involved in it, Childers said.
Wren Norwood and Kendrick O’Rourke are juniors at Kenai Central High School participating in Job Shadow Day.