Landen Yocum (below) and Grace Blanchard are two of eight Otsego High School seniors participating in Career Pathways. (Photos provided)
By Jason Wesseldyk
How can we help our students be better prepared for life after high school?
That question led to the creation of a new class at Otsego High School.
The Career Pathways class offers OHS seniors the opportunity to get real-world experience with area businesses that match the career interests of the student.
OHS teacher Michael Miller serves as advisor for the new course, which was the brainchild of OHS student success coordinator Mary Grile.
“We saw a need to get more kids out into actual workplaces and explore opportunities in the career pathway they plan to take after high school,” Miller says.
Career Pathways is currently a one-trimester class and is open to members of the senior class. Students in the class spend two hours a day at the business with which they’ve been matched, exploring different aspects of jobs they are interested in pursuing.
Autumn Harris is one of eight OHS seniors who are part of the inaugural session of Career Pathways during the first trimester. She was paired with Wenke Flooring and SKP Designs as she explores interior design.
“This is giving me the opportunity to do the career before you go and study it in college and decide if that’s what you really want to do,” Harris said.
The other seven seniors currently enrolled in Career Pathways are:
- Malia Holmes is working with the Communications Department at OPS; her career interest is sports broadcasting and communications.
- Grace Blanchard is working with Armor Physical Therapy; her career interest is physical therapy.
- Landen Yocum is working with Auditorium Management at OPS; his career interest is stage and theater management.
- Aly Aldrich is working with Peloton Inc.; her career interest is in engineering.
- Lily Koehl is working with Timothy Hutchens CPA and Tim Powers PLC; her career interest is in accounting.
- Sydney Grile is working with the Otsego/Plainwell Chamber of Commerce; her career interest in political science.
- Dylan Robrahn is working with Christian Neighbors and Allegan County Community Foundation (ACCF); his interest is being a community organizer.
“I’m getting real-world experience and learning about my job hands-on,” Sydney Grile said.
Miller believes Career Pathways provides a valuable sneak peek when it comes to possible career pursuits.
“We are hoping they have a realistic expectation of what their career might look like before they leave high school,” Miller adds.
Although Career Pathways is only available to seniors during its inaugural year, Miller hopes to expand that to include juniors in the future.
Students interested in participating in the class are encouraged to talk to their school counselor.
And any businesses or organizations willing to take a student to mentor can contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are also looking to set up new relationships with local businesses that are willing to mentor students through their pathway during high school and maybe beyond,” Miller said.