For the second year, ‘job shadowing’ was done across Pierre and Fort Pierre by seniors of T.F. Riggs High School.
“Our goal is to get these students some real world experience in fields they are interested in,” said Kelsey Halderman, a career advisor with the Department of Labor & Regulation. The DLR sets up the two-day program for area businesses and the seniors.
Job shadowing is when students or others follow a person in a specific field for a period of time to learn if that field might be the direction the student wants to go for their education or career.
One student, watching a veterinarian doing surgery, “got right in there,” said Halderman. Another was testing if she would be able to handle blood at Avera’s, though had no problem. The minute-to-minute scheduling and timing at a radio station was eye-opening for some students.
Mackenzie Decker, assistant director of Workforce services, and Halderman said 126 students shadowed last year. This year there are 182 registered for the program.
“The students are required to complete a three-hour job shadow, which is tied back to a grade in their senior English class. This year, the second, is in conjunction with Gov. Kristi Noem’s Week of Work Initiative. This initiative aims to get students to explore their career interests by placing them in a job shadow of a career area that interests them. We have a student who actually got to shadow Governor Noem,” said Halderman.
“Students were placed in shadow locations by first completing an interest survey in their English class. These were reviewed by the DLR Job Service office, and staff members contact businesses that match student interest areas. This year we placed 182 students in job shadows, a substantial increase from last year’s 126 students. We also had an increase in both private businesses and state agencies that job shadow sites — over 55,” said Decker.
Hailee Like and William Van Camp job-shadowed at the Capital Journal newspaper. Their assignment was to record information on their fellow classmates’ job shadowing. Like is bound for Dakota Wesleyan University for creative writing and journalism. Van Camp is headed to South Dakota State University for an as-of-yet-unstated major.
“We were shadowing the shadowers,” said Van Camp. “We found Bailey Spears shadowing Daniel Voita.” Voita, besides being the parts consultant at Beck Motor Company is the Oahe Speedway technical inspector. “He said, ‘Out of all the kids I’ve had back here this week, Bailey has definitely asked the most questions.’,” recorded Van Camp.
“Overall, the job shadowing seemed to be a great success for the seniors. They learned more about what it’s like on the job, and to figure out where they are wanting to go in their future,” said Like. “At Beck Motor Company, Daniel Voita said, ‘Two screens is one of the easier ways to get work done faster and most efficiently.’ “ Voita added that one part might be called or described very differently by different people, depending on their location or background, but he gets it worked out. “Voita added, ‘If you can’t communicate, you will be at the bottom of the food chain.’,” said Like.