Workplace Learning Connection offers virtual job shadow opportunities for high school students during pandemic

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 11:01 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The pandemic is not keeping Eastern Iowa high school students from job shadowing. Workplace Learning Connection through Kirkwood Community College has coordinated virtual opportunities with the help of area businesses.

Picking a career can be overwhelming for those who haven’t quite graduated high school yet, that’s why the WLC focuses on job shadow and internship opportunities for sophomores, juniors and seniors across Eastern Iowa.

“It’s giving them that opportunity before they even graduate to figure out what are they interested in, what do they want to do once they walk across that stage and get their diploma,” says Brittany Slaubaugh, Program Coordinator & Business Liaison for Workplace Learning Connection.

The WLC moved their efforts online this fall due to the pandemic. Prairie Senior Hannah Lester decided to give it a try by attending the virtual pharmacy job shadow day.

“It felt a lot like a college visit which is, which was nice because I think that that helped me since I can’t really go visit college right now,” Lester told us.

She says the experience helped her decide to study Pre-Pharmacy in college, a switch from her earlier plans.

“Last year and the year before I was like all across the board interested in dentistry. And then I did a job shadow and I just was like I don’t really think I want to do this so it helped me not like waste my time,” Lester says.

The WLC saw a 62% decrease in job shadow participation in the fall, they’re hoping to get more students involved this spring as well as engage more businesses.

“79% of those job shadow students from this fall said their experience positively influenced their decision to live and work in Iowa.” Slaubaugh told us.

The program is totally free to students and businesses who choose to participate.

“It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life but I definitely think that it doesn’t hurt to do a job shadow,” Lester says.

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