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RSS hosts virtual Groundhog Job Shadow Day

SALISBURY — February is Career and Technical Education Month, and on Wednesday a dozen students got to “shadow” local professionals.

This was Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ fifth annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. Normally, students would spend a few hours shadowing a professional or a business, but there is a district-wide moratorium on travel. So, the shadowing moved virtual.

“This was definitely an effort to make it as close to possible to what we would do physically,” said Associate CTE Director Dominique Bates.

The schools surveyed students to see who would be interested in participating and leaned on the Chamber of Commerce to help connect students with businesses that align with their interests. This year, one student was interested in video game development. So, they found a local app developer to speak with.

Students got to meet with accountants, app developers, architects, child care professionals and the entire associate superintendent team with RSS in the case of one student who wants to become a school administrator.

“In my mind, they’re gaining a mentor,” Bates said.

The program is open to high school juniors and seniors who want to participate.

North Rowan High School student Darius Adkins already works as a machinist and was able to meet with logistics supervisor LaTonya Andrews of Trelleborg Boots to advise him on the steps he would need to take to make it in the field. He was also able to meet the CTE leader at Salisbury High School, which hosts the district’s manufacturing academy.

Andrews said she knows Adkins took notes, asked questions and knows he will do well in life.

The virtual format was an adaptation to COVID-19, but Bates said had some positive takeaways from the changes. He said it worked better than the department expected. He spent the day moving between calls to see how they were going. He did not know how it would go, but he was inspired by the laughs and smiling faces.

“I feel we should offer these pop-up Zoom sessions throughout the year,” Bates said. “I think that for some students who might not have transportation, or if we just want to connect a student with a business partner, we can connect them on a Zoom meeting. We don’t have to wait to travel out to see the partner on site.”

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