Bill Philips, an American entrepreneur and author, wisely stated, “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” Every opportunity to learn, discover and grow is invaluable. Creating opportunities for youth in our community to learn, discover and grow are also intentional efforts of the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce and Valley County Economic Development (VCED) which is why both organizations have recently taken an active role in Ord High School’s School-to-Work program.
The School-to-Work program offers high school seniors the opportunity to obtain real-life experience in local businesses and career fields that align with their interests. Students experience everything from day-to-day operations to customer interactions during their time in the business community which provides them with affirmation that the particular field is one they would like to pursue or alternatively, realization that a career field is not of interest to them.
Before stepping in the door at their work site, the students participated in a variety of workshops to prepare not only for their School-to-Work experience but for future career planning and job searches. Students reflected on their skills and experience during a resume building workshop with Kayla Hinrichs of Nebraska Extension in Valley County. Kayla returned for a second presentation on interview tips and cover letters. The students also had the opportunity to discover how to connect their passions with a career during a workshop with Jodi Sell of GLOW Leadership. As the students were buttoning up their resumes and cover letters, they experienced an interactive session on teamwork and soft skills with Crystal Ramm with the Central Community College Ord Learning Center. Equipped with new tips and insights, the students contacted local businesses they were matched with to schedule an interview and coordinate final work arrangements.
During the Fall semester, 31 students are immersed in 25 businesses in the Ord area to explore career fields including diesel mechanics, elementary education, auto body repair, retail, healthcare, chiropractic, dental, law enforcement, marketing, veterinary science and more.
The Ord Area Chamber and VCED are honored to be a part of an impactful program that not only encourages students to take action to discover their talents and interests but engages them in the local business community. It is also the intention that students will develop meaningful relationships with local entrepreneurs and business professionals so at some point in the future, they may consider returning to their hometown to live, work, play and give and to contribute to the greater good of our county-wide community.