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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Looking into the shadow


How do students get real-life looks into a career without holding down a job? The answer is being a “Job Shadow.” This gives students a real opportunity to walk in the shoes of a career or job that interests them the most. The problem: shadow opportunities have been disappearing in our community. With privacy regulations and insurance coverage changing, adding in increasing workloads for business owners and employees, it has become harder and harder for local students to find professionals willing or having time to mentor them.

Lake Roosevelt High School for years has cultivated a great Job Shadow program into their Senior Portfolio and helping students get a deep look into careers is a requirement for graduation. The problem for some students is they just cannot find locally what they are looking for. Or those businesses just do not understand or have the time to actually mentor a student for a day or two.

Coulee Medical Center has really been the leader in the past few years, and this year has developed a great program for Job Shadowing. They showed up at the recent Career Day at LR with a team of professionals and unveiled a solid program that enticed many students to sign up for job shadowing at CMC under many different areas in the hospital.

The USBR and Colville Confederated Tribes also have had great programs in the past, but making those connections has been harder and harder over the years. The Star Newspaper and the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce have also been great to work with, but the students going into those fields are few and far between.

So why am I telling all of you this? Because we need to rally; rally as a community of great leaders and businesses to give these students an opportunity to get real jobs, skills and experiences alongside of all of you. It is of utmost importance that we make ourselves available to students for a few days to cultivate their decisions for the future. I would love to see students learning alongside the likes of contractors, electricians, store owners, ranchers, chefs and council members. The list can go on and on. Doctors mentoring future doctors in a rural community, law enforcement officers showing future cops what their day-to-day life looks like, a payroll clerk showing future clerks the tedious task of paying the bills, and so one. It is up to us to show the future what hard work looks like and what happens behind the scenes.

So when these bright-eyed students come looking and asking you to shadow them, I encourage you to take a chance in sowing seeds for the future. It is imperative that they know exactly what the job they are hoping to get into entails, and making connections with mentors that will help them professionally as they decide their destiny in a career. Don’t be afraid, either, to reach out to local schools and students and tell them you would be willing to help a student. I know we can do this and build up our students with integrity, respect and work ethic, one shadow at a time.

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