Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Southern Panhandle Freshmen Connect the Dots


March 15, 2018

Cynthia Gill for the Western Nebraska Observer

Kimball High School students discuss their career options and skills.

Ninth grade students from across the region attended Nebraska Extension's Connecting the Dots Career Exploration Program at Sidney High School on March 5.

Nearly 150 students spent the morning exploring their skills, learning to write a good resume and how to behave in an interview. In addition to Sidney High, students from Leyton High School, Kimball High School and Banner County High School participated in the simulation.

After lunch, students had the opportunity to see how they can connect the dots from where they are in school now to where they want to be in the future. Before the event, students took a career assessment inventory that revealed clusters of jobs that they may be interested in pursuing. Students then began the career exploration event, pairing up with another student with similar career interests. Each pair visited with one of 16 different career area potential employers. These were business people from the community who volunteered their time. The event attempts to display paths to many careers, those that require college degrees and options for careers that do not require degrees.

Employers counseled students to help find careers that fit their experiences and interests. If the student did not have the education or certification needed for the career selected they had to return to the education table and get the degree needed for their desired career. Then they could go back to the employer and investigate different careers in that area. The students had several opportunities to interact with the business professionals before completing that part of the event.

Cynthia Gill for the Western Nebraska Observer

Raven Johnson and Samantha Bemis practice introductions at Nebraska Extension's Connecting the Dots career exploration program at Sidney High School.

The highlight of the day was the good advice and tips for success offered by the business representatives. Helping out at this year's event were Shannon Ankeny, Cabela's; Sonia Corne, manager of Hampton Inn; Lisa Laws; Sidney Regional Medical Center; Matt Gudahl, Sidney Regional Medical Center; Niki Rochlitz, Great Western Bank; Bill Struckmeyer, UNL High Plains Ag Lab; Suzy Ernest, KSID Radio; James Gill, Cabela's; Jon Leever, L&L Aviation; Shelly Gerk, South Platte NRD; Kristin Schmidt, Sidney Regional Medical Center; Becky Allard, Sidney Regional Medical Center; Emily Johnson, Sidney Regional Medical Center; Ron Gusman, Veteran's Office; Lisa Bickford, Office of Human Development; Adam Frerichs, Cheyenne County Sheriff's office; Lori Biesecker, Educational Service Unit 13; James Mendoza, National Guard; John Cattin, Jobs Corps; Tyler O'Daniel, Chadron State College; and Cole Honstead, Western Nebraska Community College.

In addition, thanks go to Sidney High School for hosting, Nebraska Extension Educators, UNL and military representatives for making this program possible and for ESU 13, Farm Credit Services, and Points West Bank for their financial support of the program.

Connecting the Dots facilitates growth and development of rural communities by increasing connections between youth and community leaders. Youth gain an understanding of the opportunities within their own communities and the importance of the choices they make in high school.

For more information about 4-H, Extension or the Connecting the Dots program, please contact Cynthia Gill at 308-254-3809 or [email protected]


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