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Learning through experience at OTC

SEB students explore potential jobs at OTC’s Career Shadowing Day

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Southeast Bulloch High School junior Matthew Mobley has always been interested in computers.
    “As a kid, I’d look at the insides of them and I didn’t understand how they worked,” he said.
    So when he had a chance to shadow to instructors at Ogeechee Technical College that work with computers, he jumped at the opportunity.
    Mobley was one of nearly 30 students from Southeast Bulloch High School on the campus of OTC Thursday shadowing various instructors in fields ranging from automotive to cosmetology to veterinary technicians to learn more about the field.
    Johnathon Barrett, senior director of statewide operations for Junior Achievement, said the program is designed to give students hands-on experience in a field they’re interested in while they’re in high school to allow them a real life look at what certain jobs are.
    “Often times a student will have something in mind because they got it off of television or pop culture,” Barrett said, “and it absolutely has nothing to do with goes on in a day-to-day work experience.”
    For example, with the popularity of the Crime Scene Investigation franchise, Barrett said he’s seen an increased interest in forensic science.
    “They need to go and see what’s actually happening in law enforcement and forensic science to see if they really like it,” he said.
    Larry Bowen, director of career placement and development for OTC, said the program is an excellent opportunity for the school to showcase some of the programs they have to interested students.
    “A lot of high school students don’t know what programs we have out here,” he said.
    Jeff Davis, acting executive director of Information Technology at OTC, showed students about the school’s PACS system, which allows doctors to view x-ray and other images on a computer screen rather than using film to develop the images.
    Mobley and Jeramy Smith, a senior at SEB, both were able to get see exactly how the system worked as well as a tour of the facility used.
    Smith said he chose to shadow instructors for PACS and networking on Thursday because of his interest in computers.
    Dr. Janice Grumbles, program director for the veterinary Technician program, said the job-shadowing program gives students an opportunity to learn about a job they may not have known was available.
    “Most of the community knows what a veterinarian does, however, they’re not so familiar with what a veterinary technician does,” she said. “We like for them to see all that are students learn and what they see and do.”
    Grumbles said the students that shadowed her seemed “very interested” in what she was doing.
    “They got to listen to the heartbeat of a rat and then got to hear a heartbeat of a dog to see how different they are and they were just amazed,” she said.
    Barrett said the nationwide program tries to let students know that they don’t have to go to larger cities like Atlanta or Charlotte to find a job.
    “We’re trying to take kids in smaller communities and show them they can have careers in the areas they live,” he said.
    Across the state, more than 150,000 students in Georgia will participate in the program.
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