The Ottumwa Courier

February 2, 2013

Workers see shadows before Groundhog Day

Job Corps students experience real-life workplace while job shadowing

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow, a whole bunch of workers saw shadows of their own.

Students from the Ottumwa Job Corps Center were out in the community “job shadowing” employees at various worksites around the community for the Job Corps national Ground Hog Job Shadow Day.

“It gives the students the opportunity to experience a real-life workplace,” said David Humburg, the business and community liaison at the center. “Some of our students have never been exposed to an actual work environment before.”

He said 163 students participated in the day, and nine employers agreed to let students visit, observe and, in some cases, participate in the everyday business of the company.

“It gives you experience working,” said Ottumwa Job Corps student Toni Hinkle of California, Mo.

And while she studies computers, not sorting pop cans, just being at a real job can be a good learning experience.

“You have to follow the rules [so] you get to practice your work ethic: You take breaks, and you need to be back on time. You see how employees get along with other employees.”

And besides, added student Austin Golwitzer of Carroll they’re helping the community recycle.

“In class on Monday, they’ll talk about their experiences,” said Mark Douglas, the Ottumwa center director. “They may [say] ‘I saw them doing this; why were they doing that?’ or ‘this is what we’ve been practicing, and I got to see them doing that.’”

Some students traveled to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.

“The get to experience the very work they’re going to be doing, to experience what they’re being trained to do,” said Douglas.

Some students went to see the staff at an outreach ministry for the poor, some to a lighting company while a few worked in an office.

“It’s a valuable experience,” said Humburg.

“It also creates a vision for the kids, kind of reignites them, reignites their career vision,” Douglas said.