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Column: Making the connection from school to work


WORTHINGTON — Worthington High School, the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses have been meeting to discuss ways to keep our young people engaged and active in our community.

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Over the past few months, a committee has been looking at ways for businesses to communicate their message to students in the high school’s freshmen career classes. This is being done by guest speakers coming into the classroom and describing to students the requirements of working in the different business fields. Speakers cover issues such as educational needs, the hiring process, the benefits of work and volunteer experience, wages and possibilities for career advancement within that particular business field.

In the near future, job growth is projected to occur in southwest Minnesota, creating new jobs for our economy. We need to educate our students about the future occupational opportunities in our community and state in order to retain these future productive contributing members of society.

Worthington High School has developed a first-year volunteer/job shadow experience for our senior students. Last term, senior students contacted employers in the surrounding area and asked if they could directly observe job-related tasks in order to explore a potential career interest. Students volunteered at one site during the school day for the term where they completed their volunteer hours to gain more experience and knowledge on how the institution works. This opportunity was a great way for students to see particular occupations first-hand. and for business leaders to expose students to occupational opportunities that students had no prior knowledge of.

Worthington High School hopes to expand this program and offer this job shadow/internship opportunity to all students outside of the school day in the near future. We hope to ultimately improve students’ academic experiences by connecting the classroom to your business in order to meet your future employment needs.

Paul Karelis is Worthington High School’s principal, and Samantha Turnwall is a WHS careers teacher.