Shadowing students learn job possibilities

As Bob Brocker provided a tour of the Joe Morgan Honda body shop, he was also doing some recruiting.

Middletown High School juniors Maurice Slaughter and Sabrina Wehr were visiting as part of a job shadowing project created by Lisa Rowland, an economics teacher at the school.

More than 100 Middletown High School students shadowed professionals Tuesday at businesses in Middletown, Cincinnati, Lebanon, Franklin, West Chester Twp. and Beavercreek. Students learned about occupational fields, including television broadcasting, city government, credit and finance, performing arts, journalism, law and cosmetology.

“This job shadowing event became highly supported by the area businesses,” Rowland said. “It became an initiative that we wanted all economics students to experience. We couldn’t have done it without the community’s support, the area businesses’ support and the school district’s support.”

Brocker, plant manager of Joe Morgan Honda’s body and paint facility on Garver Road, said the shadowing experience is a great idea to help students figure out what they would like to do in life. He also said it’s a golden opportunity to convince people to get into his line of work.

“It gives the kids an opportunity to look at the place and decide ‘Is this really what I want to do?’ ” Brocker said. “And it gives us the chance that, when they get out of school, maybe they’ll come and give us the opportunity to hire them and bring them into what we do.”

There’s jobs to be had in the auto mechanic industry.

According to the a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the demand for auto mechanics is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020.

There’s a concern that the supply of highly trained technicians could dry up by then. A recent mechanics survey found the average age of mechanics at Ford, Chrysler and GM dealerships to be in their low 40s.

Brocker said Honda actively recruits top-notch students from out of the area vocational schools for job openings as part of the schools’ early placement program.

“I actually need a tear-down kid right now,” he said. “And I’ve got a couple vocational schools looking to see whether they’ve got somebody.”

Each student was assessed of their skills and interests prior to the job shadowing day. They were then matched up with a vocation that would be of interest to them.

“I used to want to work inside the cars, but now I want to get involved in doing the body work,” Slaughter, 16, said. “ The shadowing helped me out. I probably would’ve gone into the wrong thing if I hadn’t done this project.”

Wehr, 17, said the shadowing experience enabled her to learn more about auto mechanics, the field she was initially interested in.

“I’ve worked on cars since I was 8 years old, with my grandpa and every now and then with my dad. So this was very interesting for me,” she said.

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