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Job Shadows
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Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating Pennsylvania groundhog, sees his shadow on February 2, workers at businesses across the country will see their job shadows as more than 1 million students choose the same day to head into the workplace for an entire year! Included: Job-shadowing resources you can use.


Most people know that February 2 is Groundhog Day; a day when groundhogs across the country climb out of their holes, look for their shadows, and try to predict the end of winter. Do they know, however, that February 2 also is Groundhog Job Shadow Day; a day when students across the country leave their classrooms to shadow adult workers and try to predict their future careers? Unlike the black-footed rodent, permitted only a single prognosticating day each year, however, job-shadowing students visit businesses and explore a variety of careers throughout the entire year.

On February 2, more than 1 million students and more than 100,000 businesses will begin participating in Job Shadowing 2010. The students will spend time touring job sites, shadowing workers, and participating in on-the-job activities. They'll have the opportunity to shadow scientists, designers, mechanics, teachers, government employees, and workers from thousands of participating businesses. In the past, those shadowed workers have included President George W. Bush, Secretary of Education Rob Paige, and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

Job shadowing, say program organizers, is "an academically motivating activity" because it gives kids an up-close look at the world of work and helps them answer the question "Why do I have to learn this?" Designed to offer students the opportunity to see what a real job is like, the program shows students that they have choices in life, motivates them to set long term goals, and helps them make the connection between what they learn in the classroom and what they need to learn to achieve those goals.

In addition to workplace job shadowing experiences, the program also offers a Major to Career Converter, which allows students to match academic majors to real jobs. Just when you thought there were no jobs for English majors!

The Job Shadow program's Web site also provides a plethora of additional information and resources to help teachers and students get started and get involved. Those resources include a Teacher Guide, links to state Job Shadow Day contacts, and other educational activities and materials.

Says Stuart Shapiro, a past director of the Job Shadow Day Coalition, "Job shadowing is increasingly important for students because it acquaints them with the world of work through on-the-job experiences and a carefully crafted school curriculum that ties academics to the workplace. Through job shadowing, students have the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to succeed in the real world."

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © Education World 2010

Updated 1/20/2010