My senior year in high school I was able to take a course called “School to Career”. Other common names include job shadowing or work-study. This class allowed students, normally seniors, to choose a workplace to attend once a day for a certain amount of time. Depending on the workplace, the experience can be very hands-on and some can be just watching what your employers do. For example, if someone chose to school to career at the hospital they wouldn’t be able to do many hands-on activities, but more of just watching. This class allows students to experience multiple areas of a career and see if they might want to pursue a career in it.

Sara Richardson is the teacher and strongly advises students to enroll in this class. She stated, “It allows students to use personal and class experience with everything they have learned in other areas to decide their ultimate career goal.” “It is definitely rewarding to see a student find out what they want to do.”

For my workplace, I chose Farmer’s Cooperative Company. A small location was located in Yetter, Iowa and I went there for about three months from August to October. I learned about what is done during harvest at an elevator and also could run the scale and computer by the end of my time there. I honestly learned a lot in Yetter but knew when I was done with my college experience I wanted to do more than what I did there. I then came in contact with Holly Knobbe, who is FC’s Talent Manager. Holly works out of the Farnhamville, Iowa office that is about 20 minutes from my high school. I decided to transfer to the Farnhamville office because of the abundance of opportunities. When looking back at my experience, I do not regret it one bit! I was able to participate in many projects and gain a lot of experience in the agriculture field. I also was able to communicate with many FC employees from different locations.

My mentor, Holly Knobbe (left) and I at the Farmer’s Cooperative sign in Lake City, Iowa.

Holly Knobbe, my employer in the Farnhamville, Iowa location has become an incredible mentor for me today. From my experience with her and everyone at FC, I have developed and maintained a strong relationship with FC today. I still attend FC networking events, visit the Farnhamville office and keep in contact with Holly frequently. When I asked Holly about the “School to Career” program she commented that, “It helped Kayla use her skills in the classroom and apply them to a real world setting. I think the program is also good for the employer because it allows them to increase a student’s experience and help them step out of their comfort zone.”

Overall, my experience with FC helped me choose my career choice in agriculture. I am so thankful that it led me in the right direction! I always advise younger high school students to take part in this class and take advantage of any opportunities like this. The more experience you have in a real world setting before college or entering the real world the better!



Kayla Degner was born and raised in rural Lytton, IA on a diversified grain and livestock family farm. She graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton in May 2012 and currently attends Iowa State University studying Agricultural Communications. Her past involved many agriculture venues. Kayla has a strong interest in advocating to the youth involved in agriculture. Contact her at [email protected].