High School juniors explore career interests

For thirty-two years, University of Illinois Extension has coordinated the Career Day Program for juniors in high school from Monmouth/Roseville, United and West Central school districts. Students who choose to participate in the program spend time “shadowing” a professional in their workplace.  The program aims to help students gain valuable information about realistic work settings, required education, as well as opportunities for training and advancement within their career interest. 

Students are asked to identify their top two future career interests.  From those two choices, University of Illinois Extension matches the students to local business partners that open their doors to the teens.  Students are required to fill out a resume, which allows the professional an opportunity to get to know the student before they arrive.  After spending a portion of the day with local business professionals, students are asked to fill out a brief program evaluation.

This year, 56 students participated and were placed in the following locations and businesses:

In Henderson County: Schar’s Veterinary Clinic.

In Knox County: Galesburg Chamber of Commerce, Galesburg Community Foundation, Jet Air, Knox Area Partnership for Community and Economic Development, West Central FS, Knoxville Veterinary Service,

In McDonough County: Argyle Lake State Park, Representative Norine Hammond, and Western Illinois University.

In Rock Island County: Circa 21

In Warren County: Andy Doyle – State’s Attorney, Big River Resources, City of Monmouth, Clark, Glasgow & McClintock, Columbia Decorating, Cook Construction, Early Bird Nutrition, Fusion Tech Integrated, Inc., J Laws Hair, Lynn Shimmin Farms, M&E Catering, McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Mill Creek Mining, Monmouth Police Department, Monmouth/Roseville School District, Roseville Floral & More, United School District, and WMOI/WRAM.

In Iowa: F&M Bank, Iowa National Guard, and Wendi Riggens Photography.

One of the fastest-growing industries is health, so it is no surprise that an additional 33 students expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the medical field after graduating in 2021. Extension partnered with Eagle View Community Health Systems, Galesburg Hospital’s Ambulance Service, McDonough District Hospital, OSF Healthcare, and SIU School of Medicine to offer students a hands-on experience to gain knowledge about a variety of medical careers in a workshop setting.  Sessions focused on careers in dentistry, pharmacy, phlebotomy, respiratory therapy, radiology, physical therapy, emergency medical technician/paramedic, and laparoscopic surgery.

Shelby Carlson, Youth Development Educator shares, “We are incredibly grateful to our community partners for helping to provide the students with the opportunity to learn more about their prospective careers. It’s amazing to see a student’s face light up when they uncover their passion for a potential career.”