Having to decide a future career at age 18 is hard. There is a lot riding on picking an area of study that someone might enjoy for the rest of their lives. There’s a lot of pressure on high school seniors to decide what they want to do with little to no experience in the field.
Lincoln High School has recently adopted a program that makes this a little easier. This program is called Work-Based Learning, and it allows students to take half a school day and get hands-on experiences working or interning in a job they may potentially want to pursue.
Students in the past and present have worked at veterinarian’s offices, the school’s IT department, the local newspaper, Reid Health, farms and the school’s very own Lincoln Golden Eagle Industries. Students have gained experience in everything from health care to business to agriculture, allowing them to get a glimpse of the future in a career they are considering.
Past students from Lincoln tend to look at this experience as a highly positive one that helped them decide their future. The program helps some students decide whether the career they are considering is one they truly want to pursue, and a lot end up majoring in or going into the workforce in the same field as they did their Work-Based in.
Work-Based Learning Coordinator Kaitlyn Lacey said, “In the short time we have offered WBL, this just being year number four, I have seen students who have decided that what they did for WBL is what they want to do for their career, and I have also had some who find out that is not what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I think this is just as beneficial, if not more because they realize the ins and outs of that job before going to college or getting into that career.”
Zach Bates is currently a freshman at Trine University. As a senior, he interned with the school’s IT department for his Work-Based Learning. He is now majoring in computer science and information technology.
“I had an idea of what I wanted to do before Work-Based Learning, but my internship helped me confirm it’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
Current senior Rachel Morgan is interning at Reid Health in the radiology department.
“Work-Based has helped me decide that I for sure want to pursue a career in radiology, but it’s also given me a chance to work with children. After I complete my schooling, I would like to find an X-ray technician job at a children’s hospital,” she said.
Another recent Lincoln graduate credits her Work-Based Learning experience to helping her pick the major she is currently pursuing. Kaila Arthur is a current freshman attending Indiana University East pursuing a major in business administration. She said, “Doing Work-Based Learning through Lincoln Golden Eagle Industries helped me realize that I wanted to go into management/administration … My position at LGEI helped me realize I enjoyed making decisions, being a leader, and supervising. This led me to pursue a major in business administration.”
All three of these past and current students speak very highly of the program and encourage others to take advantage of it.
“Work-Based Learning is giving you opportunities to connect with your future when you are still trying to develop what you even want your future to be. I highly recommend Work-Based if you haven’t decided, are unsure, or have absolutely no clue who you want to be,” said Morgan.
“I will always encourage others to do the Work-Based program because it’s an amazing opportunity to get real-world experience in a field you’re interested in,” said Bates.
Reagan Sturgis is an intern at the Western Wayne News and a senior at Lincoln High School in Cambridge City.
A version of this article appeared in the September 27 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.