CHS agriculture department begins job shadowing program

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This year, the Cassville High School agriculture department will begin a new program that will help students learn more about careers and work environments.

"A portion of the curriculum taught through the agricultural program is on agricultural careers and characters of a quality employee," said CHS agriculture instructor Charli Jo Epperly. "We thought it would be a great benefit to have our students seek the working knowledge behind the businesses in our communities."

Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, junior and senior students will be required to complete a job shadowing experience. The requirement is designed to teach students about employer expectations, educational requirements and job responsibilities.

"A job shadow is a learning experience that takes place at a business or organization in our community," said Epperly. "Job shadows give students a chance to begin to identify career interests by observing the daily routine of workers."

Through the program, students will gain knowledge on the connection between school, work and their goals for the future and develop skills needed to secure future employment.

"Students should expect to see how the knowledge they are gaining in school is used on the job," said Epperly, "and learn what employees receive besides a paycheck."

The program will allow students to learn more about businesses in the local community and explore new career ideas.

"It is also intended to readily prepare students for future employment," said Epperly. "Whether they chose education after high school graduation or join the workforce, these are skills that are a necessity in each person's life."

During each job shadowing experience, a student will follow an employee at a local business in an effort to learn about that occupation and industry. The hosting employee will be called an adult mentor. Job shadowing experiences will last three to six hours one day during a semester.

"The mentor will be a guiding factor to assist us in helping to encourage the students to develop quality work ethics for that student's future," said Epperly. "The businesses who participate will allow a practice run for the student."

Students will receive lessons in making good first impressions, developing good communication skills with a boss figure and building confidence to successfully interact with others in the workplace.

Students will be directed to ask their mentor to describe a typical day at their job, the most enjoyable aspect of their profession, the types of technology used in the profession and changes that have been made or are planned for the profession. Mentors will also be encouraged to give students advice for pursuing a similar career.

The Cassville High School agricultural department has distributed invitations to participate in the program to several local businesses. Students will have the opportunity to select a participating business.

"Initially, we looked at the list of Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce business members and determined if the businesses on that list fit significantly into at least one of the agricultural related areas," said Epperly. "However, there are many agricultural businesses in our community that could participate if the interest was there.

"If there is a business that would like to participate in this program, they are encouraged to contact the school," said Epperly. "We will send out the required documentation for the business to begin the job shadowing program."

Participating businesses should offer products or services in one of the following categories: food product or processing; animal science; plant science; natural resource, conservation or recreation; agri-business and finance; public relations; and agriculture construction and structures.

Students will begin participating in the new job shadowing program next month.

For more information, call Epperly or Kelin Kruse, agricultural instructor, at 847-3137.

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