Middle school students get some work experience | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Middle school students get some work experience

Greg Risling

Students at South Tahoe Middle School are learning a valuable lesson that may pay off in the future – how to get a job.

Thirty six students went to work on Monday and Tuesday at Heavenly Ski Resort where they were temporarily placed in various positions, some more rigorous than others. The two-day experience is part of the “School-to-Career” program, which educates kids about finding a job in the workplace. Heavenly joins Embassy Suites as the second employer to participate in the joint effort.

“It gives them the basic skills and confidence when they look for a job,” said Jill Colvin, who teaches at the middle school. “They find out the real importance of getting a job.

As in the real world, a job isn’t simply handed to a student. They have to submit a resume, go through the dreaded job interview and patiently wait for that affirming phone call.

The competition is tough, too. Approximately 350 kids were eligible for the program but only 10 percent were able to have the hands-on experience. The disappointment of not being hired isn’t meant as a setback or a demoralizer for students, according to school counselor Marilyn Pawling.

“We tell the kids that many successful people go through a lot of disappointments,” Pawling said. “If they are turned down we continue to work with them and help them attain their goal.”

Students must first fill out an application, stating specific positions they are interested in. They also turn in a resume that details hobbies and previous experience. Then, the students are interviewed by five of Heavenly’s employees who ask basic questions. The teachers spend about two weeks preparing the kids for the process and the eventual two days on the job.

Thirteen-year-old Tiffany Fischer was one of the students who was hard at work on Tuesday. She was working on the mountain as a snowboard instructor, assisting younger children who are taking their first ski steps. With aspirations to be a marine biologist, Fischer likes being a mentor to the tykes.

“I think it’s easier for me to help the little kids because there isn’t a huge age gap,” she said. “When I’m older I would like to work part-time at a ski resort. I probably wouldn’t get this experience without the program because I’m probably too young to get a job here at Heavenly.”

Allison Grant, a training instructor at Heavenly, said the middle school is the right time to begin informing students about job opportunities.

“They get to look at areas that interest them,” she said. “And they can start to make the connection between school and work skills.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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