Students Leap Into the Future to Explore Careers

The Wilson Education Partnership (WEP) and Wilson County Schools Career & Technical Education (WCS – CTE) Department collaborated to host Leap Into Your Future, a Job Shadowing Program for high school students on Monday, February 29, 2016. The intent of this pilot program, planned with a small number of student participants and business hosts, was to create interest and provide a model for a larger-scale program which will be launched February 2, 2017 on National Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

Eleven high school juniors spent a morning shadowing employees at the following host businesses: BB&T Operations Center, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, C & B Orthodontics, Chick-fil-A of Wilson, ComForcare Senior Services, Creech’s Plumbing & Blissful Boutique, First Presbyterian Day School, Merck Manufacturing, Thomas Law Attorneys, White’s Tractor & Truck, and Wilson Medical Center.

Student participants included: Abria Blount, Michael Coleman, Felicity Cox-Dickens and Shonta Hargett from Hunt High School; Brianna Negrete, Sawan Patel, Earth Pender and Joshua Speight from Beddingfield High School; Nathan Adams, Ny’Asia Cox and Montennelliya Deans from Fike High School.

Following a morning at job sites, students and employers gathered for lunch and discussion to evaluate the program and make recommendations for next year. Students and employers agreed that the experience was positive and beneficial to both schools and businesses.

Students reflected on their morning with these comments:
“I liked being able to take a look behind the scenes”
“I enjoyed getting a chance to talk with other people”
“The employees were friendly and helpful”
“I learned about areas I never knew about”
“I was introduced to complex intellectual data”
“I got to meet some awesome people!”
“I enjoyed being able to spend the day doing something I enjoy”

Shadowing hosts enthusiastically identified many benefits of the experience:
“I really liked having a student that showed genuine interest in the profession. It was great getting to share all the excitement we have for the profession with her.”
“This experience made the connection between local education and industry.”
“ I liked being able to share the job I love!”
“We shared real world vs. classroom activities and experiences.”
“I was glad to share my time, experiences and knowledge.”
“Our company liked being able to involve our employees in a community volunteering opportunity without have to leave the work site. With the expansion of the program, I envision us accepting multiple students to job shadow.”

Job Shadowing is an educational experience in which a student visits a business or industry for a short period of time to observe the tasks and activities of one or more specific occupations. It is an opportunity for students to explore careers by observing and interacting with people on the job. Job Shadowing is a practical and useful way for students to explore career opportunities and begin planning for their future.
To learn more about engaging businesses in job shadowing and other work-based learning experiences for students, contact Martha Vick in the WEP office, 252-399-7726.