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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Groundhog Job Shadow Day 10th Anniversary

12:00AM / Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pittsfield — Friday, February 2, 2007, marks the 10th Annual National Job Shadow Day. The national event was first launched in 1998 by General Colin Powell and America’s Promise — The Alliance for Youth, Junior Achievement, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a way to give young people an up-close look at the world of work. Since then, the event has gone from reaching tens of thousands of students to an estimated one million teens a year.

Locally, the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, in collaboration with Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, coordinates the placement of more than 1,000 students at more than 500 companies throughout the county. One dozen Berkshire County high schools participate.

“The youth in our county are a critical component in the development of our workforce. This program gives students a chance to experience, first-hand, the opportunities that await them upon graduating from high school or college,” commented Heather Boulger, executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board. “With reports of decreasing population, this program is just one of many components that address the future workforce needs of our county.”

Although this is the 10th anniversary for the national event, the BCREB and the Boston Private Industry Council started the shadow experience in 1995, a year before the national program.

Job Shadow Day is part of a yearlong national effort to enrich the lives of students by acquainting 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 are given the opportunity to go into places of work and shadow “career mentors,” volunteers who discuss their careers and the education and skills necessary to do them.

The positive impact of a job shadow experience is documented.

According to a study completed by The Kravis Leadership Institute who evaluated students age 12-16 who completed a shadow experience, teens who have job shadowed are one-third more likely to seek employment during their high school years (44%) than students who have not job shadowed (33%). The study also showed that job shadowing teens are five percent more likely to believe they will obtain a college degree (79.1%) than are students who have not shadowed (74%). A significant percentage of shadowing students expect to finish high school (98.4%) compared to teens without job shadowing experiences (94.6%).

Companies interested in providing a shadow experience for a student should contact Heather Shogry, youth director for the BCREB, at (413) 442-7177 ext. 103 or youth@berkshirereb.org.


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