Saturday, March 29, 2014

Junior Achievement Job Shadow™

The value of bringing students to a workplace to experience and learn is inestimable. Junior Achievement has developed a successful model suitable for any business.

From the website:
JA Job Shadow offers students a unique opportunity: a visit to a professional work environment and insights into how to find and keep a fulfilling career.
Students participating in the program will acquire and apply the skills needed in demanding and ever-changing workplaces. Students will be able to recognize career clusters and potential job positions; understand the importance of researching the requirements needed to earn a position; and develop job-hunting tools, such as networking, resumes, and interviewing skills.
JA Job Shadow is recommended for high school students. The program is composed of three 45-minute classroom sessions and the job shadow visit, which is usually four to five hours in length.
Materials are downloadable and include detailed session plans for the site-coordinator, students, and teacher. The program also provides instructions to allow students to begin using the Kuder Navigator, an online educational and career planning system designed primarily for today's middle and high school students.                                                                                                Click on JA Job Shadow

This model provides curriculum for classroom teachers to teach and for the managers to review prior to the site visit. A scenario might include an HR manager reviewing the different career clusters at the enterprise. Department heads might speak. With groups of four or five students for two to three hours,  the managers return to and tour their departments, discuss work ethics, pose ethics questions, interview students for a job (Students are semi-prepared.), and then return to the group at noon for lunch and group discussion. Lessons in the classroom follow the job shadow event.

The State Capitol has an annual JA Job Shadow™ event, in which students, usually from the legislators’ districts, participate. Under coordination is a shadowing event with NORDAM, a once in a lifetime opportunity.  JA Tulsa requires students from high need schools.

To begin: Contact Junior Achievement, which can ask a business if it will host one or multiple group events during the school year at its facility.

Advantages: This “lesson” is highly respected and the least intrusive because of its structure. Little time is redirected, none lost. Workforce development is essential in business, and as Tulsa's Belynda Clanton, Junior Achievement’s vice president of programs, said, we “must inspire them before they learn.” Many students have no concept of a work site experience prior to this opportunity. Furthermore, every business can participate even with confidentiality. For example, the Cancer Treatment Centers have hosted job shadowing. Students interact with managers, not just follow them around. Job Shadow is a win-win.

Las Vegas
Possibilities for JA Job ShadowThe list is endless, and all sizes of businesses can host: groups representing municipalities and their various departments, governmental agencies, media, communications, construction both home and commercial, energy, law, finance, higher education, insurance, public or private schools, agriculture, manufacturing, convenience stores, department stores, food distributors, franchisees/ franchisers, nonprofits...

The concept of Junior Achievement is a hands-up approach, which communities should eagerly champion.

(Belynda Clanton, personal communication, March 12, 2014)
(Jo Wise, personal communication, March 19, 2014)

Additional notes:
Oklahoma’s national representative on the U.S. Junior Achievement Board of Directors is Alan Armstrong, president & CEO, The Williams Company, Inc., based in Tulsa.                 


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