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Two students create job shadowing opportunities for their classmates

Elizabeth McCormick participated in a job shadow at General Mills back when she was a seventh-grade student at Metcalf Middle School.

Elizabeth McCormick, right, and Megan Osterhaus, left, have created a Job Shadowing Program at Burnsville High School based on the four career fields, and they've even created a logo for the club. 
“I was inspired by being in the workplace,” she said, “and it helped me realize that I want a career in business.”  
Elizabeth, now a junior at Burnsville High School, wants all students to have the same opportunity to go on a job shadow as part of their career exploration. Throughout the summer Elizabeth and Meggan Malone, DECA advisor and a BHS business education teacher, met to discuss how this could happen.
Elizabeth recruited classmate Megan Osterhaus to join the project. They researched job shadowing and found there was a student need at Burnsville High School. So the 11th-grade entrepreneurs started a Job Shadow Club.
"Elizabeth and Megan have taken an idea and not only come up with a plan, but have tested and begun to implement it,” said Malone. “Elizabeth and Megan are resourceful and have tenacity so if they hit a roadblock, they approach it from another direction."
Job shadowing involves spending a few hours at a workplace with a person who shares information about his/her job. “It’s an opportunity to pick the brains of professional people and gain a feeling for what they do at their work,” said Megan.
Elizabeth and Megan have contacted many area businesses and have been pleased at the willingness to host students. “Our community is eager to work with us on this,” said Elizabeth.
Before they go on a job shadow, students are encouraged to research the company they will visit and develop questions like: “What do you do in your job? What education and/or training do you have? What other jobs did you have before this one?”  
Students also receive pointers on how to present themselves to adults in the workplace.

From a job shadow experience, Elizabeth and Megan say students can:

  • Increase their knowledge of possible careers.

  • Confirm or refine their interest in a career field; or learn that it’s not for them.

  • Expand their networks.

  • Sharpen their public speaking and other business skills.

  • Discover internship opportunities.

Marcia Sexton, the Burnsville High School's College and Career Specialist, serves as advisor for the Job Shadow Club. She’s impressed with what Elizabeth and Megan have achieved already. “These students are thinking big,” said Sexton. “I just provided some contacts and they’ve run with it.”

Sexton also connected the students with Michelle Jacobs of Burnsville Promise, a local collaboration focused on success for children.

Elizabeth and Megan recently submitted their job shadow project to a district DECA competition and were selected to go on to the state competition in March.

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 14:35