Kenai Central students get a behind-the-scenes look at career options

KCHS junior Gavin Hunt addresses his fellow classmates at the Kenai Chamber’s job shadow luncheon. (Hunter Morrison/KDLL)

Each year, Kenai Central High School juniors have the opportunity to explore their passions with a behind-the-scenes look at their preferred career through a job shadow event run by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. This year’s job shadow day, held Tuesday, saw about 25 business participants, including Marathon Petroleum, Elite Real Estate, Duke’s Transmission, Full Auto Repair and more.

“It’s something that gives them a snapshot into what a day in the life of their ideal job could be,” said Liam Floyd, recruitment and development coordinator at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really an eye-opening experience in the sense where they realize ‘I don’t want to do that,’ and they don’t have to go through the struggle of trying it first or going through education, getting trained.”

After a morning of trying their hand at potential jobs, over 100 student participants reflected on their experiences during a luncheon at the chamber. KCHS junior Gavin Hunt spent the day learning about the ins and outs of air traffic control, and addressed his fellow classmates.

“The main thing that I really want to say is that this was truthfully a great opportunity to really learn about this area and what the options and possibilities are, specifically for air control,” he said. “I hadn’t looked into it at all, I just saw ‘oh, planes fly, that’s kinda cool, I might want to look into that,’ and I found out way more than I thought I would. I just knew it paid well, that’s about all.”

Hunt learned about an array of aviation opportunities, each with different education and skill requirements. Hunt says events like these are beneficial to students, who may have difficulty coordinating job shadow opportunities on their own.

“There’s always room, for wherever you’re at in the world, to keep rising up and get a good position,” Hunt said.  

Jake Dye, a Kenai Central High School alumnus who participated in the job shadow program in 2014, originally wanted to pursue something in the healthcare industry and job shadowed at Central Peninsula Hospital. This week, he hosted two shadows at the Peninsula Clarion, where he now works as a reporter. In an address at the luncheon, he says the job shadow event helped him realize what he truly wanted out of his career.

“Something that I’ve always taken away from that experience was that ‘yeah, it was cool, and yeah it itched that sort of science interest that I still have in me,’ but I really wanted to be more front-facing,” Dye said. “I wanted to be out, I wanted to be talking to people.” 

Dye says that of his fellow high school classmates, he doesn’t know anyone whose career path went exactly as planned. He urges students to consider several aspects when choosing a career, including schedule, workplace culture and uniform.

“This experience, this going out, being in a business, seeing what they’re doing first-hand is not an experience you can have in your classroom, no matter how great the teachers at Kenai Central are,” Dye said. “As you’re reflecting on this experience, think about the things you liked, and you didn’t like, because no job is perfect.”

“Use this opportunity to point you in the right direction, even if you did something today that you realized ‘wow, I really don’t want to do this,” Floyd said in address at the luncheon. “So many things can change, this is a very, very unique opportunity you have.”

Kenai Central High School has been hosting job shadow events for over twenty years. Floyd says some of the students who participated in this week’s job shadow day had parents who participated when they were in high school.

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce is always looking for new business partners to participate in future job shadow events.

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