Job shadow day sends 80 students into community businesses

Published 12:02 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools gave some of its students real world experiences as part of an annual job shadowing event on April 13.

The event was virtual in 2021 and this year’s excursions were originally planned for February, but pushed back because of spiking COVID-19 cases, but the show went on last week as 80 students visited 20 employers and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to explore their career interests.

Interim Career and Technical Education Director Dominique Bates said the district surveys juniors and seniors in high schools to gauge their interest and lists the 60 most in- demand careers in the county from the Rowan County Economic Development Commission. The district has plenty of takers on the business end.

Bates said about twice as many businesses signed up to be part of the day than the district could match students with.

They employers included manufacturers, insurance companies, the Rowan Chamber of Commerce and construction among others. Interim CTE Director Dominique Bates said Touch of Grey, the tattoo parlor downtown, was a new addition.

Bates said the district typically has students interested in being tattoo artists but they have never been able to place them before.

“They got to stencil, hang out in the shop all day, witness people getting tattoos and see some of the techniques they use,” Bates said.

Bates said two students, South Rowan High’s Audric Coe and West Rowan High’s Skykira Wiggins, were offered jobs on the spot.

Bates said the experience reaffirms the interest of most students. About 80-90% of them say they still want to go into the fields they shadow after the day, but it is valuable for the kids who decide it is not for them before they invest time and money in pursuing it.

Brooke McNeil, a junior at North Rowan High School, said  the experience made her feel more certain about her goal of becoming a nurse. She went to RCCC for the day and got some exposure to their health
sciences programs, from intubating a dummy to demonstrating motor skill issues occupational therapists work with.

McNeil said the college shared a lot of information from what classes students need to salaries they can expect. She said the entire experience was reaffirming for her.

“It helped me see what they would be doing day-to-day,” McNeil said. “It made me want to do it more.”

McNeil said she has grown up around the medical field so she feels comfortable in the environment. She is taking multiple medical CTE classes.

After she graduates she wants to attend Winston-Salem State University to pursue her nursing degree. She said she was attracted to the university’s nursing program, its status as a Historically Black College or University and a family connection because her brother attends the school.

“I feel like I could make that my next home,” McNeil said.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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