It's one thing for students in Canyons District to spend their school days working toward being college-and career-ready, but it's quite another when they actually spend a day on the job and learn a little about what the real world is like.
That's the experience almost 150 students recently had as they teamed up with 46 local businesses to participate in CSD’s annual Job Shadow Day, the kickoff event of Career and Technical Education Month. Students experienced what it's like to spend a day on the job working in finance, medicine, cancer research, veterinary services, architecture, business management and city planning, to name a few of the opportunities available, then network at a luncheon sponsored by their mentor.
The experience is aimed at helping students determine what career opportunities appeal to them the most so they can make informed decisions on what kind of schooling, or technical training, will be most beneficial.
"You don't always get experiences like this, and this is a crucial time to get these ‘inside’ experiences," said Kelsey Smart, a junior at Hillcrest High, who joined Midvale Mayor Joann B. Seghini for an in-depth look at the inner workings of city government. "Not a lot of people get to see what really goes on in local government — that was exciting to me."
Mentors, like Seghini, also enjoy working with students for a day. It gives potential employers the chance to survey the field of upcoming graduates for a potential new work force, support the community and share their hard-earned wisdom with the next generation.
"If you feel helpless, you will be," Seghini said as she sat next to Smart at the luncheon. "If you feel empowered, you are. If (students) don’t get out and see what's there they will have no idea what they should be doing. Graduation is just the beginning."
The good news is, there are many exciting opportunities waiting for students after graduation, said Chet Linton, keynote speaker of the Job Shadow luncheon and president and CEO of the School Improvement Network. According to Linton, by 2018, the amount of students who earn a college degree in order to meet the demands of America's work force will fall short by 3 to 5 million, while at the same time, in 2014, almost half of college graduates under age 25 are out of work or underemployed. The disparity is because students aren't pursing the right careers or the right education to match their desired career, Linton said.
"We create the life we live — it's up to each of us," Linton said. "I suggest finding things you're passionate about. Ask yourself this question — what are you passionate about? Then do what you love. If you do what you love, you will find something to make you happy."