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Chamber works with RSS to organize Groundhog Job Shadow Day

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Inspired by Groundhog Day, the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce worked with the Rowan-Salisbury School System to organize the first Groundhog Job Shadow Day on Feb. 2.

The chamber’s Workforce Development Alliance matched high school juniors with businesses they were interested in for them to learn more about different careers.

Elaine Spalding, president of the chamber, said the event is a good way to give students a look at the education and qualifications required for different jobs and what a typical day will be like.

It was also a good way to partner with the school system. The chamber worked with Mandy Mills, director of career and technical education, to survey the students to find out what careers they were interested in.

The chamber then recruited businesses that matched up with the students’ interests. As of Wednesday, 34 students and 18 businesses were participating.

Spalding said they were aiming to get 10 businesses to participate for the first year. Once the word got out, more businesses volunteered to participate than they had students for.

“That was a neat problem to have,” Spalding said.

The chamber tried to have a variety of businesses with different educational requirements participating, from Novant Health Rowan Medical Center to the Hotdog Shack in Granite Quarry.

Robbie Fulton, of Schneider Electric and chairman of the chamber’s Workforce Committee, said the event will introduce businesses to their potential employee base while giving students a first-hand look at internal operations.

“I do believe it will give them some insight into, ‘Is this really something I’m interested in?’” he said.

Fulton said he was looking forward to making the event an annual one.

Mike Beaver, of Beaver Brothers, Inc. and a Workforce Committee member, said the event is a chance to get students excited about life after they finish school.

“We hope that once the students can get excited about life after school and get interested in a career, then they will be much more happy at what they are doing,” he said in an email. “Happy coworkers make much more pleasant work environments and can also serve our customers better.”

Spalding said she hopes businesses will offer shadowing opportunities throughout the year. She said businesses that are located near schools could work with them to offer different programs.

Spalding said the event may help students realize there are good jobs in their own backyard.

“I think it’s just going to be a great day and a great kick-off for the Groundhog Job Shadow Day,” she said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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