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Officer Alan L. Steele, military working dog handler, MWD Section, Provost Marshals Office, commands Gabi, MWD, to bite Sgt. Darren Westmoreland, MWD handler, MWD Section, PMO, during the 13th annual Job Shadowing Event aboard the Combat Center Feb. 23, 2016. The event began as a partnership between the Morongo Unified School District and the installation and provides students with insight on potential careers. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

Students explore careers at Combat Center

4 Mar 2016 | Story by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Many high school students may view finally leaving the nest and preparing for the future as a daunting task. For these young adults, a push in the right direction can go a long way.

To provide a glimpse into their considered career paths, various Combat Center Marines, sailors and civilian workers mentored more than 45 students from Twentynine Palms High School during the 13th annual Job Shadowing Event, Feb. 23, 2016.

“The program began as a partnership between the Morongo Unified School District and the base,” said Thomas Cruz Jr., school liaison, Family Care Branch. “The program works with students that may have difficulty finding jobs after graduating by giving them that first-hand experience of exploring a career.”

According to Lori Jo Cosgriff, job coach developer, Career and Technical Education, MUSD, the 11th and 12th grade students are enrolled in the Workability Transition Partnership Program to help teach them life skills before graduation. The program continues to track the students, even after graduation, to assist them as much as possible in becoming successfully employed.

“It took a lot of coordination with the school district and the different units on base to make this event a success,” Cruz said. “This year we tried to ensure the students were able to experience more than one-job in one-day to give them more opportunities to learn.”

The students were given a multitude of options, ranging from spending the day with Twentynine Palms Naval Hospital corpsmen to experiencing the day-to-day life of working in law enforcement alongside Marines from the Provost Marshals Office. For Justin Ornelas Perez, student, Twentynine Palms High School, his interest in a photography career drew him to the Combat Camera shop.

“I love to do photography on my own free time as a hobby,” Perez said. “The Marines [with Combat Camera] showed us their cameras and how they take a portrait, which was really cool since I usually only take photos of nature.”

After spending the morning with Combat Camera, Perez went to Exercise Support Division to learn about a possible career in welding.

“It’s great being able to come here because it gives us a taste of what we want to be in life,” Perez said. “While there is a military focus, [job shadowing] also shows us what it might be like in a career outside of the military.”

Whether the students decide to pursue a career in the jobs they shadowed or follow their dreams elsewhere, the day they spent aboard the base will help them to keep in mind their many possibilities.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms