Job shadows continue despite COVID challenges

For the past seven years, students have had the opportunity to attend job shadows throughout Black Hawk County. Program coordinator Kelly Kobliska, who has organized the job shadows through Hawkeye Community College and helped set up each meeting, has tried her best to arrange each meeting in person. 

Counselor Susan Langan said she believes most job shadows will be held in-person with social distancing enforced, excluding those with the health department, which will be held online. “They have been doing interviews with doctors and things like that. I know some kids went to Target yesterday for business,” Langan said. 

Job shadows generally take half of a school day at locations somewhere in the community that show the students what their future careers might look like. “She tries to keep them in the community so you don’t have to travel, but every once in a while I know she said some people go to the Cedar Rapids or Des Moines area,” Langan said. 

The date of each job shadow depends entirely on what career field someone may have signed up for on the paperwork. Students will receive an email from Kobliska beforehand so they have time to prepare, something Langan said she encourages. 

Langan said that she recommends following the dress code Kobliska gives students. Students that don’t come prepared with questions are essentially losing out on a good opportunity. “Have questions and dress appropriately, and then make sure that you thank them, be professional,” Langan said. 

Langan encourages students attending job shadows to ask the employees’ stories or personal advice based on their experience.

Kobliska said she doesn’t believe attending the job shadows has a downside. “Even if you learn that the career isn’t for you, we still consider it a success,” she said. 

She said the best part of organizing job shadows is hearing from the students afterward. “My favorite is when a student is super excited about their shadow.  We don’t often hear from students after their shadow, so when I do and the student loves it and they are excited, it reminds me that my work is meaningful.”

If students are planning on signing up for job shadows, they should look for the  forms given out at the beginning of next semester. Job shadow opportunities unveil at the start of every semester. “It happens fast, so you gotta be looking at Schoology,” Langan said.

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