By: Rachel P. Ricucci
Excitement and enthusiasm are two words that describe the effort and support behind Job Shadow Day. A longstanding career program in Mount Olive High School, led by Christine Nelson and Jill Fry, Coordinators. The program helps students immerse themselves into a job for the day and actually participate in it to a degree. The feedback that they’ve received on the program has been nothing but positive and described as a “win-win” situation by the coordinators. This program continues out of sheer interest by the students and the support of the local businesses.
“The enthusiasm is unbelievable. Some students have gone out to the employers themselves to ask them if they can job shadow” said Fry. Fry explained that this year, they’ve had over 200 students show interest in this program. The students regularly ask about Job Shadow Day and are very proactive about it, according to Nelson and Fry. The freshmen have also gained an interest and ask about the program as well. The companies they work with are local, countywide and statewide businesses.
The program has been running for about a decade, according to Nelson and has stemmed out of the career readiness program. Nelson said the reason this was created was to “give the students exposure and the ability to make their own decisions.” She elaborated that the students choose three areas of interest that they’d like to explore and are matched with one of those interests.
The program is open to students grades 10 to 12 who have to fill out an application and register to participate. The program is done during a regular school day (from 9 to 5) and is coordinated with many of the local area businesses. The students pack a lunch and spend the day either observing or partaking in a typical work day. It could be hands on or simply shadowing and observing based on the type of work they are interested in and what field it is (hairdressing, physical therapy or a doctor’s office). “It’s a little bit of everything” Nelson said. “They may not know what goes into a typical work day.”
For instance, the students may not be able to participate hands on in a hair salon, but may be able to participate with the physical therapy (if permission is given). It goes on a case by case basis. It is the type of program that mirrors the classic “Take Your Child to Work Day” which is a similar concept, only in Job Shadow Day the students don’t have to be related to anyone and can choose the industry they are going to pursue.
The coordinators stated that the e-mails and feedback have been great on Job Shadow Day. They elaborated that it is a perfect way to come together as a community. The coordinators also commented that they foresee this is as definitely continuing for next year and into the future.
For students who are not participating, regular class sessions go on during this day. This year, Job Shadow Day is set for Tuesday, March 19th.