Job shadowing opens doors for high school students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Job shadowing opens doors for high school students

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- With Iowa's unemployment rate increasing to 4.6% in December, many younger Iowans are likely wondering what they will do for jobs once graduating high school.

One job market that is seeing an increase in opportunities right now is healthcare, and about two dozen high school students learned all about what a career in medicine would be like Saturday morning.

Xavier High School Senior Olivia Mehring was one of 21 teens that shadowed surgical technicians at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids. 

"They don't really fluff it up for you, it's real, and that's what I like about it so much." said Olivia Mehring.

The experience is part of the Workplace Learning Connection with Kirkwood Community College.  The organization offers hundreds of job shadow opprotunities each year and it's something you just can't get in the classroom.

"The education piece is very important for the students, it's a future work-force development and economic development piece for the buisnesses and employers that work with us," said organizer Mary Lou Erlacher.

Data from the Workplace Learning Connection compiled over a six year period shows nearly one-third of students who are involved in an un-paid internship will become post-secondary trained full-time workers back in the same facility

"It gives them an impetus to stay connected to their community and connected to this institution when they're ready to get into the workfield," said Erlacher.

"I just think it's a great opportunity so they can come in and see the operating room and see if this is something they want to do in the future," said Surgical Technician Dusty Gloede.

Mehring can take this real-life training with her to college and beyond as she works towards becoming a nurse, maybe even right at Mercy Hospital.

Online Reporter: Jason Epner
Online Producer: Mike Verlo

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