What kind of career do you want to have?

That is a question students from Redwood Valley Middle School have been able to try and answer during the 2018-19 school year through a job shadowing program. March 29, the final job shadow experience for students, had them visiting everywhere from the local police department and elementary school to healthcare facilities and hair salons.

Prior to the job shadow experiences students spend time learning about prospective jobs as part of a career exploration unit in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) class.

Students not only research job interests, they also learn important characteristics, such has having a good handshake, in the class that is helping prepare them not only for the real world but also for high school. That is when they will begin making more serious decisions regarding their futures through the classes they take.

During the job shadow event, students visit one business in the morning and a second in the afternoon, with seventh and eighth graders taking part.

With students at both grade levels involved, each of them, by the time they leave the middle school, have the chance to visit four local businesses.

Some of the students commented about their morning experiences, adding they learned a lot during the visit.

That includes the fact that technology is becoming a much more significant part of the healthcare industry.

They also learned that there is a lot more math and science involved in working with hair.

Students also said they gained a new level of respect for those who work with students, especially younger ones, adding keeping them focused is not as easy as one might think.

During their time at RVMS, students also take part in a program known as Ramp Up to Readiness. Each Tuesday morning for 20 minutes students receive information on a variety of topics all intended to help them prepare themselves for life beyond their time at Redwood Valley. That class helps keep students motivated to stay in school and provides focus for them as they look toward their career path.

Ally Carlson, Redwood Valley school guidance counselor, said the job shadow program started five years ago, adding the program shows students that there are lots of opportunities for them in Redwood Falls.

Carlson also expressed appreciation to those local businesses that have been willing to make time in their busy schedules this year to work with local students through the job shadow program.

Job shadow experiences may confirm a career interest for a student, but it also may open their eyes – helping them realize that their thoughts about a certain job might not be what they expected. Either way, they all are one step closer to finding what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

– Information compiled by Shyanna Johnson, Grace Caraway, Olivia Stoterau and Rachel Huhnerkoch of Redwood Valley Middle School