Good Hope seniors, from left, Jacob Stewart and Colton Kugler listen intently as they are geared up at Cullman Fire and Rescue during the job shadowing event.

HANCEVILLE, ALA. – A recent job-shadowing event in the area, organized by Wallace State Community College, provided 618 high school seniors an opportunity to get a glimpse of potential career choices. The event lasted from Jan. 26-30 and Feb. 2 and was made up of seniors from Cullman, Cold Springs, Danville, Fairview, Falkville, Good Hope, Hanceville, Holly Pond, Vinemont and West Point High Schools.

Christine Wiggins, Wallace State’s Career Coach Coordinator, stopped by various local businesses and industries throughout the week and was more than impressed with what she observed.

“I personally visited five locations and at each stop the students were eager to share with me what they were learning. They all seemed very engaged with the choices they made,” Wiggins said. “I hope the job shadowing was a changing point in their lives. I think it helped affirm whether it’s something they are interested in pursuing a career in or if it’s not exactly what they had in mind, and if they need to start looking at a different direction. Our career coaches are prepared for both of those results in order to help the students with that next step.”

Wallace State was able to secure 63 business and industry partners during the event, creating a wide net of opportunities for the students to select from, whether it was from the banking industry to the radio, television and newspaper world, the healthcare field to the educational field or many more options.

Merchants Bank

Kaylee Natt, a senior at Hanceville High School, selected to shadow employees at Merchants Bank in Cullman.

“I’m really interested in banking as a career, and I’ve learned a lot,” Natt said. “This has been a great opportunity.”

Natt was introduced and allowed to track each department at Merchants Bank, observing the day-to-day operations that make up the company.

Jenny Clark, the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at Merchants Bank, was happy to see students share an interest in a banking career.

“This is our second year to participate, and we are excited to see the students who want to spend a day with us. We hope they are engaged. We hope they learn what banking is about. We try to divide them into different departments so they are not spending one day with one person, but are learning banking in general,” Clark said. “We centralize them and try to zero in on their topic, whether it be banking, accounting or loans, but also try to give them the gist of banking in general.”

Natt spent the first portion of the day shadowing the information systems department and customer service employees at Merchants Bank. Among her afternoon activities, Natt was introduced to tellers and observed those who handled new accounts.

“We hope each student has fun. It’s the real world, so it’s not always the most fun. Some days you get a lunch break and some days you don’t. You just have to roll with the punches,” Clark said. “I hope we give each student a good experience that can help them determine whether it’s something they really want to do.”

Cullman Fire and Rescue

Good Hope High School seniors Jacob Stewart and Colton Kugler spent time at Cullman Fire and Rescue learning about the average day of a firefighter and the training they go through to be able to perform their duties.

Division Chief Brian Bradberry and the crew at Station No. 1 made sure the students were able to experience everything from mundane duties of cleaning up around the station to performing a search and rescue drill.

The drill required the students to suit up in firefighting gear and with a partner find and rescue a 200-pound mannequin. To make it more life-like, the students’ mask was covered with a hood so they had to depend mainly on touch and sound to make their way to the victim.

“That gives you a real good idea of what it would be like,” Bradberry said, if you were in a dark and smoky building.

Kugler, who is a volunteer for the Good Hope Volunteer Fire Department, went first, and said the exercise was similar to training he’s done in the past, except they didn’t have the dummy, he said, after catching his breath. “It was fun,” he said of the drill. Later he said, “I kind of want to do it again.”

“It was hard,” Stewart said. “It really was.” But that didn’t deter him in his plans to be a firefighter. “I want to be in service and do something that helps people,” he said. “Being a firefighter is my biggest dream.”

Bradberry said their goal for the job shadowing students is to show them as much as they can about being a firefighter. Along with the cleaning and the drills, they went to work out with firefighters to see how important it is to keep in shape, had CPR training and rode along on a few calls.

Wiggins said the job-shadowing event has received positive reviews from both students and industries. Her department is still in the process of conducting surveys from the participants to see how the event can improve in the future. She hopes that all 16 schools in Wallace State’s career coaching circle can participate in the event in future years.

“We feel it was a successful event. There were very few glitches or incidents. All of the business partners were very cooperative,” Wiggins said. “Through the shadowing, we had four students who were offered a job. We had several students who are going to continue observations at the hospital in their area of choice.”

Wallace State’s Career Coaches are Lisa Farnsworth, Jennifer Eddleman and Brenda Johnson. Each coach is assigned to specific high schools throughout the academic year and works with students in hopes of finding a career path for each, including encouraging them to attend the college that best fits those needs. The coaches assess their interests and skills, explore career paths and research education and training options in preparation for their future.

For more information about Wallace State, visit wallacestate.edu.

Good Hope senior Jacob Stewart finds the rescue mannequin by using sound and touch. An alarm indicating firefighter down helped Stewart locate the mannequin.

Good Hope senior Jacob Stewart finds the rescue mannequin by using sound and touch. An alarm indicating firefighter down helped Stewart locate the mannequin.

Good Hope senior Maxwell Chandler replaces a tire in the maintenance shop at Serra Visser Nissan in Cullman during the job shadowing event hosted by Wallace State recently.

Good Hope senior Maxwell Chandler replaces a tire in the maintenance shop at Serra Visser Nissan in Cullman during the job shadowing event hosted by Wallace State recently.

Good Hope seniors, from left, Jacob Stewart and Colton Kugler listen intently as they are geared up at Cullman Fire and Rescue during the job shadowing event.

Good Hope seniors, from left, Jacob Stewart and Colton Kugler listen intently as they are geared up at Cullman Fire and Rescue during the job shadowing event.

Hanceville High senior Kaylee Natt, left, converses with Merchants Bank (in Cullman) employee Megan Keese about customer service policies and procedures during the job shadowing week.

Hanceville High senior Kaylee Natt, left, converses with Merchants Bank (in Cullman) employee Megan Keese about customer service policies and procedures during the job shadowing week.

 

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______________________________

Russell Moore

Staff Writer

Wallace State Community College

P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077

1-866-350-9722    256-352-8443 direct

256-339-2422 cell

Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu

 

Gail Crutchfield

Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Wallace State Community College

P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077

256-352-8064

 

Kristen Holmes
Communications & Marketing Director

Wallace State Community College

801 Main Street NW | Hanceville, AL 35077
E-mail: kristen.holmes@wallacestate.edu
Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722
Be One of Us. Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu.