Article: Job Shadowing & Groundhog Job Shadow Day
School-to-Career: Job Shadowing & Groundhog Job Shadow Day
This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring ideas and practical applications in "school-to-career."
The "job shadow" brings a site visit to a more personal level, giving students an opportunity to interact with and learn from caring adults in a work environment. In contrast to a whole class touring your business, the job shadow allows individual or small groups of students to spend time "shadowing" someone-and it could be anyone from a receptionist to a member of a design team to the CEO of the company-to learn in-depth about the work day. The job shadow experience benefits everyone involved: students gain a much broader and deeper perspective on the workplace; employees learn more about and become more motivated by their own work, and the company develops stronger community relations while opening the door to a potential future employee.
A closer look at benefits to students reveals just how effective and far-reaching job shadowing can be. The job shadowing activity makes possible observation, one-on-one interactions, and occasional opportunities to try some of the work. Through this experience, students learn much more than what it's like to be "on the job." Students also learn about what it takes to get to the job, such as educational and professional requirements. Frequently, the job shadow opens students' eyes to career possibilities they had not been aware of. The job shadowing experience also has an impact on students' attitude and orientation towards school. An evaluation conducted by the Kravis Leadership Institute showed that students who have participated in job shadowing are more likely to believe they will graduate from high school and obtain a college degree. They are also one-third more likely to seek part-time employment (under 20 hours per week) while still in high school.
While job shadowing can take place at any time, Groundhog Job Shadow Day is an opportunity to build business-school partnerships in conjunction with a high-profile, event. The goal of National Groundhog Job Shadow Day (Feb. 2) is to provide one million students with job shadowing experiences. California is seeking at least 40,000 job shadow placements. In Marin and Sonoma Counties, the School-to-Career Partnerships are working to provide job shadow experiences for middle and high school students in a range of industries across the month of February. For more information on Groundhog Job Shadow Day, see the Web site (URL below); to get involved, contact your local STC partnership (contact info below). Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you prepare to host a job shadow:
Before the job shadow:
During the job shadow:
After the job shadow:
Next Month: Mentoring
Related Links: National Groundhog Job Shadow Home Page:
It takes employers, students, and teachers working together to build an effective STC system. The local STC partnerships have the tools to help employers get started; please contact them for more information. If you have your own ideas for getting involved, please contact Ralph Manak at the Bay Area School-to-Career Action Network (BaySCAN).