Labette County HS students get head start on their futures with career advocates

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Students at Labette County High School are getting a jump start on their future.

This is the first year the district has offered an on-staff career advocate for students. To put it simply, a career advocate helps them learn about careers they’re interested in. And by doing that, they’re able to help them find out whether or not the kids want to pursue those in the future. It begins with an idea and research, and that eventually grows into an internship

“I had two. I had a Bartlet Co-op during the school year, and over the summer I interned with Farm Talk, the newspaper,” says Sunny Webb, a senior at Labette County High School.

Senior Sunny Webb says she wants to be a veterinarian, so working at the co-op helped her learn some important business skills. As for working at the newspaper, that was about her love for writing. And while the two jobs may have been different in a lot of ways, they did teach her one very valuable skill.

“I think I learned a lot of people skills,” says Webb.

Meanwhile, senior Cara DeTar spent the first five months of the year working at the Bartlet Co-op.

“I’m really interested in how feeds are made and different nutrients that go into feeds, simply because I raise sheep,” says Cara DeTar.

Her plan is to pursue teaching after college, but the skills she learned this year will play a big role in getting her there.

“When I go to K-State for college, I plan on working in the feed mill part time as an on campus job, so it’s going to help me be very aware about the things that are happening in the feed mill,” says DeTar.

Cara, Sunny and several students were part of a pilot program at Labette County High School last year, where they worked with a career advocate. Now the district has Misty Burke.

“The career advocate was a position that was created to help students explore potential interests as young as grade school and in to high school, and then also help the students explore those positions through job shadowing and internships,” says Misty Burke.

Burke says this gives the students a chance to put classroom lessons into practice in real field, along with gaining valuable experience. And it even helps get their foot in the door for a possible career.

“It was a great experience to be able to learn more about the agriculture field. I learned a lot about the economics of it, the grain prices and I got to work with some really great people,” says Bronte Waisner, senior at Labette County High School.

And while nothing will replace classroom time, the kids say having a career advocate to help them get on-the-job experience has been a big boost to helping them learn.

“I definitely would not have known half the things I learned in my internships in a classroom. I just, I learn more seeing than, like, writing,” says Sunny Webb.

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