STMS students enter ‘Heavenly’ real world |

STMS students enter ‘Heavenly’ real world

Although many of them are barely 14-years-old, they worked hard and left an excellent impression with their employers.

Some department managers even hope to employ some of the eighth-graders in the future.

For the second year in a row, Heavenly Ski Resort temporarily “hired” a carefully selected group of South Tahoe Middle School students as part of the federally funded school-to-career program.

The 32 students worked two days last week at the resort. But prior to that they had to produce resumes and cover letters, and interview with Heavenly department managers. The selection process was more rigorous and demanding than last year, according to Heavenly event coordinators, and challenged the students to perform at a high level of professionalism.

“We decided to do a job fair this year, instead of just doing the placements here, ourselves,” said Allison Grant, Heavenly training coordinator. “So the kids actually had to go out and meet with at least three or four managers and have interviews with them.”

Students worked in a variety of departments, including vault operations, ticket services, food and beverage, retail, Perfect Turn, day care and ski patrol.

“Many times students have no idea what working at a resort -or any business for that matter- involves,” said Marilyn Pawling, counselor at South Tahoe Middle School. “They think it’s all about lift operators and ski instructors. Many of them realize now it takes a lot more to run a business like this.”

For Heavenly, the experience is an investment in the community, as well as the future.

“We believe it’s very important to be an active member of the community,” said Greg Peterman, vice president of human resources. “As the largest employer in El Dorado County, it’s important for us to help kids see the opportunities that exist in the Tahoe Basin. Hopefully some of the students will make a commitment for a short time, or a prolonged career, as a result of this program.”

Student Nickie Ryan, who worked in the new day care center, gleaned more than a few valuable tips from the experience.

“I didn’t think it would involve simple stuff like learning how to burp a baby after it drinks,” the 14-year-old said. “But it was a lot of fun, and I learned how to hold babies – I’d done that before but they always cried for some reason.”

Pawling hopes to organize one more school-to-career event this year at Caesars Tahoe.

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