Students to shadow local people for career opportunities

BOWLING GREEN—Last year the two business teachers at Bowling Green High School started a program that would give graduating seniors a first hand look at careers that they may be interested in.

Kim Luebrecht and Danielle Robinson initiated the Career Alliance Project at Bowling Green last year. The pilot program had two students. This year, however, 26 in coming seniors have signed up.

“Basically, it’s like an internship program,” Luebrecht said. “We’re looking for businesses that would allow students to job shadow in the different industries that they’re interested in.”

And this is a win for businesses, too, she added, because the program provides them with a potential employee.

“We can kind of look at it as a semester-long interview,” she explained. It would be up to the businesses if they would want to pay the student for job shadowing.

“They would give them projects to work on to experience various aspects of that industry,” Luebrecht added.

“At the same time it’s also great for the students,” said Robinson, “because they get to explore all these different career paths to see what they like and don’t like, and really help decide what they want to do for their future.”

During the pilot year, the two teachers were able to see what worked and what needed fine-tuning. That helped them develop a handbook for the businesses and the students, to guide them during the semester-long project.

The plan, they said, was to meet with all of the students who signed up for the project before school let out for the summer. But the pandemic forced a change in plans. They wanted most everything in place before the August start of school. But now they have to do most of that planning and orientation in August.

 “The students do have to fill out an application and do interviews,” said Luebrecht, for the jobs they are seeking as a career. “The different aspects of what they would really do if they were looking to get a job.”

From the students who have signed up this year, they are looking for careers in nursing, cosmetology, welding, business, accounting, journalism, music and as attorneys. In addition to those, some of the students are interested in physical therapy, occupational therapy, auto collision and criminal justice.

The teachers had also planned to go around and visit with various businesses that would like to see in the project. Instead, they’ve had to resort to electronic communication.

“So far,” Robinson said, “the response had been very positive.”

It’s important to get everything lined up ahead of time. Luebrecht and Robinson would meet with the students the first few days of school in August to get them oriented to the businesses.

“It’s to get the set up to where they’re going and what they’re going to do,” Robinson said. A lot depends on how social distancing measures would factor into what the students would be working on. But the two believe they would be starting their “careers” the second week of school.

With the program, the students can do two class periods back to back and then have the rest of the day to do their job shadowing.

Only seniors can sign up for the project, and some of the students have signed up for both academic semesters, Luebrecht noted.

Robinson said the two students last year provided a lot feed back on how to make the project better.

“This is also an opportunity for us as career and technical educators to get feedback from businesses as far as what they want to see in future employees,” Luebrecht said, “and possibly more things they need to focus on in the classroom.”

She believes the project has helped the community get a little more involved with the school and the students.

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