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Students Get Career-Oriented with The Works! Program

This week, more than 80 high school students from all three of our high schools harnessed an amazing opportunity with the City of Rock Hill. Students spent three days job shadowing professionals as part of The Works! program. The hands-on program immersed high school students, so they could explore different careers.

 Each day, a different set of students joined city employees to experience what it was like to work in their departments. Students were able to shadow professionals in Fire, Tourism and Hospitality, Police, Construction, Maintenance, Utilities, CDL, and Technology. 

 “It is a great opportunity for the students to job shadow and see what a career is like before they have to commit to a job. It lets them live a day in the life,” Rock Hill High School Career Counselor Kristen Starcher said. 

The program started about three years ago. It was created when the City of Rock Hill approached Rock Hill Schools wanting to increase the number of talented applicants considering employment with the City. Since its formation, The Works! program grew from just four programs offered once a year, to eight programs offered twice a year. It’s also beneficial for everyone. The city fills vacant jobs with participating seniors after they graduate and younger students participate in internships that can help them be prepared for future jobs.

“It is amazing what they do for our students. They utilize a lot of resources for our students,” Starcher said.

Besides the potential for career exposure, The Works! is helpful for our students in another way. Starcher said career counseling often discusses college as a path to success. However, this program gives students real-life insight into other pathways, she said. If a student doesn’t want to go to college after high school or they want to go to college for a shorter time, this program highlights additional ways to go directly into the workforce with little to no higher education.  

“A lot of the times they feel like they have to go to college and that’s not necessary for many careers,” Starcher said. 

Starcher is encouraged by how the students come back from the experiences with glowing things to say and new-found desires to continue with their studies, so they can get a job doing something they love. 

“The kids are usually beaming when they come back from the day,” she said. “Pretty much almost all of them when they are done say ‘oh that was great.’”