The Rotary Club of Rhinelander hosted 33 Rhinelander High School students as part of Rotary Career Day on Monday. After the Rotary meeting, the students visited area workplaces where they learned what kinds of skills are needed for careers in the area.
12/6/2012 7:30:00 AM Rotary Club of Rhinelander hosts RHS students for Career Day Students go 'behind the scenes' at area workplaces
A group of Rhinelander High School students got a glimpse of the real world on Monday.
As part of Rotary Career Day, 33 students, primarily sophomores and juniors, visited area businesses and organizations, learning about what kinds of skills and education are needed for careers in the community.
"It kind of surprised me and others the high level of interest," said Ed Hughes, Rotary president. "I think it's a great thing."
The students joined the Rotary Club of Rhinelander's regular Monday meeting, where they had lunch with area business leaders. After lunch, they dispersed to workplaces around town. Taking part were Animal Health Center, Grace Lodge, Nicolet College, Northland Orthopedics, Northwoods River News, Oneida County Sheriff's office, Darrell Schmidt Orthodontics, Ponsse, Rhinelander District Library, Ripco Credit Union, Spine & Sport, and Stoxen Pharmacy.
The idea was to show the high school students how the lessons they are learning in school can be applied after they graduate.
"We are hoping that students will take the learning that they do in the classroom, and see that every day, people here in Rhinelander are applying those same types of things," said Rhinelander High School Principal David Ditzler. "Students may go to an office setting, and see that they are using writing and communication skills every single day. They're using research and collaboration skills," he said.
At the workplaces, students observed the day-to-day functions and skills needed on the job. At the Northwoods River News, the students shadowed the newspaper's Director of Marketing Jay Anderle. The newspaper had four students interested in publishing and website publishing that visited from Rhinelander High School: Madison Isan, Laina Lyman, Nick Wagler, and Mariyah Montezon.
"They were amazed at how much pre-work goes into producing what they consider an end product," Anderle said. "They really were interested and amazed at the level of technology we use to produce our newspapers and our website."
Hughes said a look behind the scenes at different workplaces often gives students a glimpse of what their future may look like.
"I think it's a real life experience. They'll go in there and see what things look like from a perspective of somebody who has been in the job for a while, and has ambitions, and what it means to have long-term goals for your career or your business," Hughes said.
Hughes also noted the students had the opportunity to see area business leaders in action, something that would be important as they work to fill leadership roles.
"When they get into that situation where they're watching somebody who has a leadership role in their organization, or within the community, and can suddenly see 'Oh, this is how that works,'" Hughes said. "It's a much bigger picture, and I think it's a little scary for young people, but being able to sit aside somebody and watch them do it, they have to come away feeling better about their ability to do something similar."
Hughes said Rotary Career Day drives home the fact that completing assignments for work involves greater responsibility than a homework assignment.
"It means more than just a grade, it means a livelihood, really," Hughes said.
Hughes said he appreciates that Rhinelander is offering these kinds of opportunities to prepare students for the working world.
"I really do like what we're doing in this community for making kids ready for real life," Hughes said.
The experience at area workplaces made an impression on the students.
"As they were coming back in the building, they were all very glad they had participated," said Ditzler. "There's more that goes on with this job than I thought."
Ditzler said he hopes to develop other similar opportunities for students.
"I am very grateful that a community organization like Rotary is willing to work with us to do this," he said.
Anderle said the program is good for businesses as they consider who will be filling the jobs of the future in the community. For only a few hours of time, the opportunity for businesses and organizations to reach out to high school students could prove valuable in the future.
"I think the Rotary program is really good because it showcases great career opportunities that are here in our hometown," he said. "It gives us an opportunity to keep our best and brightest here in our community."
Karla Wotruba may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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