Learning in the field – Students work real jobs
More than 50 South Tahoe Middle School eighth-graders embarked on their first day of work Wednesday at Embassy Suites.
Cast worries aside – no child labor laws have been broken. It’s all part of the Wide World of Work, a two-day, school-to-career program designed to give students a glimpse into South Shore’s job market.
“We have kids in almost every position in the hotel,” said Jeff Anderson, hotel controller. “I think this program is a great idea.”
South Tahoe Middle School eighth-grade students were required to write resumes and cover letters, then fill out a one-page application which was scored by Embassy Suites representatives. Out of 425 student applicants, 125 were chosen for interviews and 51 were “hired.”
STMS Counselor Marilyn Pawling, who has been involved with the program for nine years, said students who did not get positions at Embassy Suites will have three more chances through other school-to-career programs.
“By going through the interview process four times, we hope it’s getting to the point where the paperwork is close to perfection,” Pawling said. “I wish there was something like this in place when I was in school.”
Anderson said putting students through the application and interview process trains them for the future.
“The greatest thing about this interview process is these kids come in and they’re sweating. They’re nervous,” he said. “But if they can get over that now, when they’re ready to go out and get a job it will be a lot easier for them.”
Melody Taylor, 13, assumed the role of account manager.
“I chose this position because last year I was treasurer of Club Live at my school and I like math. Math is my favorite,” Taylor said. “This experience will help me in the future because before I didn’t even know what a resume was and now I do, plus I have the experience of going through an interview. I’ve seen how the hotel works here. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.”
Student breakfast greeter Umang Patel said participating in Wide World of Work shows what a real job would be like.
“This is really great for students because it gives you an idea of what to do when you get a job,” he said. “At first I thought being a greeter was kind of hard because I usually don’t go up to people I don’t know and start a conversation, but it got easier. It’s fun. You just need to be very courteous and friendly.”
Embassy Suites General Manager Simeon Miranda said the program benefits the resort, as well as the middle-schoolers.
“It gives us a different perspective on how we do things,” Miranda said. “The job market in Lake Tahoe is very competitive, and for us, this is our future. We can show (the students) we’re a great employer and this may be an opportunity for them in the future.”
Ricardo Cidade, assistant general manager at Embassy, said he enjoys Wide World of Work because it gives him a chance to participate in the community.
“I think this is the most wonderful program I have participated in,” he said, turning to address his junior high colleagues. “One thing you learn in this position is you can never have a planned day.”
Arielle Kallister and Sultana Randall tried chefs hats on for size Wednesday.
“Right now, we’re helping the pastry guy. His name is Kurt (Gasser),” Kallister said. “We’re making croissants. We’re also making salsa and pizza dough. After doing this I want to be a pastry chef. That would be really fun.”
Randall said serving guests is also a part of her job description.
“We got to serve some of the guests and all our friends breakfast, plus we get to wear these jackets,” she said. “Next we get to make pizzas, so that will be fun. I’ve wanted to be a cook since I was 5 years old when I learned how to make spaghetti. So this is a good experience and it’s really fun here. The pastry chef we’re working with is really nice.”
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