Kenai Chamber hosts KCHS Job Shadow juniors to lunch at Kenai Christian Church
With declining resources and predicted industry closures there was increased interest by Kenai Central High School juniors at this year's Job Shadow day, sponsored by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. Some 135 students signed up for this year's program, a marked increase from last year according to Colleen Ward, Kenai Chamber education committee. "What we wanted to do is get accurate, practical information into the hands of our students so they can make informed career or pathway choices for their future. The truth is that there still are great opportunities for students to return and find good careers here in Kenai," said Ward. More than 50 local businesses and industry were chosen by students this year for shadowing. Ward, who has coordinated the event with an army of other volunteers, said this year's Job Shadow was outstanding in the fact that everything went so smoothly, "There's usually a glitch somewhere, someone doesn't show up or ends up in the wrong place, but this year was absolutely glitch free for the students and the sponsors, and that says a lot for all those who helped put the program together," added Ward. Each year both sponsors and students fill out evaluation sheets, "It'll take about a week for those to get back to us, and that will give us the best evaluation of how the program went this year," said Ward.
The student's day culminated with a luncheon hosted by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce at Kenai Christian Church and sponsored by Arby's, McDonalds, Pizza Boys, and Coca Cola. The Chamber selected four area graduates who have returned to Kenai to start businesses or work in their chosen profession. Mario Bird, Nikiski High and Notre Dame Graduate, who returned to Kenai to direct his first motion picture, spoke of the great advantage that the community support from your home town offers. Jim Satathite, a Kenai firefighter returned to Alaska after going to college in the lower 48, "Like all of you, I couldn't wait to leave home and live outside, but it didn't take me long to miss the mountains and the outdoors of Alaska, so I returned and lived in Anchorage for awhile. I liked Anchorage when we made trips up there as a kid, but it wasn't where I wanted to live, so I came home to raise my own family. So as you go away keep coming home an option for your future, this is a great place to raise a family," Satathite told the group.
Last year Jessica Summers participated in the Job Shadow program and visited Central Peninsula General Hospital, a year later Jessica has decided to pursue a future in the nursing profession. "I was to see so much that I never knew about the nursing profession, the capacity of knowledge that a nurse needed to have in a variety. I'm presently waiting to be accepted to my top two choices for school, but I'm definitely planning on pursuing nursing and returning to Alaska to practice," said Summers. It wasn't that way for all the students last year, Summers said that some of the students experienced things that deterred them from pursuing what they thought might be a future career, but when they got up close to the real world decided to re-think their options. "That too is a very beneficial part of the Job Shadow program," said Ward, who hopes the program will continue next year at KCHS.
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