EARLY YEARS: Work-based learning can include fields you might not expect

Roanoke City Public Schools’ RCPS Works Career Fair is happening April 20 at the Berglund Center
Students and businesses can learn more at upcoming RCPS Works Career Fair
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 5:57 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - High school senior Kimaya Webb says her externship with the Department of Social Services is offering her skills to reach her goal of becoming a family court attorney.

“So, like I’ve worked with the social workers, the homeless assistance team and I’ve gone to court, got to sit in on a couple of court cases,” says Webb.

Webb is one of many Roanoke City Public Schools students to take advantage of its Work Based Learning Program.

“I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of what I want to go into,” says Webb.

Jess Truax is the work-based learning coordinator. He says opportunities are expanding for students.

“Everybody seems to be in demand right now, but the most common fields that people think about are in the more traditional trades, such as building construction, automotive, welding, but we’ve seen a good expansion even our valley’s apprenticeships this year,” says Truax.

These students are not only in demand for job-specific skills, but also “soft skills” that can apply to any line of work.

“We want students to be prepared to be able to do trouble shooting and problem solving, customer service,” says Truax.

For Webb, the program gave her a rare experience for a high schooler.

“I really did enjoy it. I got to meet a couple of the judges. And like, I’ve never been in a courtroom before, never been in a courthouse. So I got to see and experience, and it was a great opportunity,” says Webb.

And Webb has some advice for any student who’s thinking about going into work based learning.

“I would tell them to be persistent,” she says.

Work-based learning programs will be showcased in the second annual RCPS Works Career fair. It’s happening April 20 from 4-7 PM in the Special Events Center at the Berglund Center. Businesses can register for the event now, and students can sign up in late March.