This time last year, if you had asked Jordan Hughes if he ever imagined a career in graphic design and installation, he would probably have given you a puzzled look and said “no”.
Ask him today, however, and you’ll get a very different answer. You might be wondering what could have changed that in just twelve months: the answer: a meaningful on-the-job apprenticeship at a local print shop.
Jordan, a senior from Cherokee High School, has been doing a work-based learning placement with DivisionWon in Rogersville since returning to school in August.
DivisionWon is a printing company that designs, produces and installs almost anything you could want on vinyl. Although he hadn’t previously considered this type of work as a career option, having worked there for the past six months, it’s certainly not out of the question as he approaches getting his job. his diploma.
Hawkins County Schools and DivisionWon have developed a partnership for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students over the past two years. Jordan’s internship began as Class of 2021 graduate Hunter Hixson’s internship was coming to an end.
Jordan knows the owners of DivisionWon, who were sad to see Hunter go because he had become such an asset to the team that they were sure they would miss him dearly. As a result, the owners set out to find their next intern on their own, without any prompting from the school system, which I hope to see much more of in the near future as we work to expand and improve the partnerships of workplace learning. with local employers.
Jordan told me he wasn’t sure how he would like the job when the owners asked him to intern with them, but decided it was worth a try, and if you ask today, you’ll find he’s glad he did!
Jordan attends classes at Cherokee in the morning and reports to work at DivisionWon around noon each day. While he’s at work, you’ll probably find him doing all sorts of things.
Some days Jordan spends time designing and laying out print jobs for commissions, some days he helps build signs and banners, and some days he spends time on site. a customer to install vinyl graphics and decals.
The latter activity is his favorite, Jordan said, “I really enjoy working on site and interacting with customers.”
Customer service and other similar employability skills are taught in all CTE courses. Jordan learned about customer interaction and professionalism in the business world during his time in Jeff Hobbs’ engineering and design classes at Cherokee.
Jordan said, “We did a lot of hands-on work in these classes where we took elements of design concepts and developed them into working prototypes and models.”
He considers these experiences his most valuable learning opportunities to prepare for the work he does every day at DivisionWon.
With graduation fast approaching, I asked Jordan what he plans to do in terms of working at DivisionWon and if he plans to take any additional training or education.
He said that while he hasn’t made up his mind yet, he plans to attend Walters State Community College to study business and marketing and will likely complete that education at East Tennessee State University. He is certain, however, that he wants to continue working for DivisionWon for the time being, even if it’s only part-time while he attends university.
I’m always curious what students like best about work-based learning placements, so I asked Jordan. Her response was, “I really like the fact that I can leave at lunchtime and go and earn money doing a job that I love.
Being able to work from noon to – 3:30 has also been beneficial in terms of my schedule with athletics. I do track and field and cross country, and it would be difficult for me to work part-time after 3:30 a.m. because I’m normally in practice or at a competition. This internship allows me to go to work during the school day, to learn more about the work I love, to earn money and to still be able to participate in athletic competitions at school!
All of these reasons Jordan responded are great, and they’re all reasons we want to continue to provide our students with work-based learning opportunities.
However, the last thing Jordan said to me is what makes me most excited to see more and more student interns working with area employers.
He said: “Working at DivisionWon is not something I would have considered before starting this internship, but I really enjoy the work and I might end up pursuing this type of work or working in this field as my career path. career.”
It’s phenomenal. Sometimes students begin an internship knowing precisely what type of career they are pursuing, and the purpose of the internship is to gain real-world experience and on-the-job training.
However, sometimes, as in Jordan’s case, students go on an internship without knowing for sure what they plan to do after high school. We hope to match students like this with internships in an industry they enjoy. Sometimes it works like for Jordan and the student leaves knowing that he likes this type of work, sometimes it is the opposite and the student leaves the internship knowing that it is not for him.
Either way, however, it is an invaluable learning experience for a student, and it could quite possibly change their life for the better after experiencing it.
To learn more about work-based learning placements or how your business or industry can partner with Hawkins County Schools, contact Brandon Williams at [email protected] or 423-272 -7629 x2007.