Job Shadowing Gives Students a Window into Their Future

The Baldwin-Whitehall School District is committed to preparing students for a successful future. One of the ways Baldwin High School prepares seniors for their next steps after high school is through the course Careers and Society. The course teaches students essential life skills, such as drafting a budget, paying taxes, formatting a résumé, and interviewing for a job. Natalie Grattan, Senior Social Studies Teacher, shares, "This course walks students through all the things we do as an adult every day. We're really preparing students for life after school." If students are interested in a particular field, they can elect to participate in a day of job-shadowing as part of the course.

Dallas Zagrocki shadowed Whitehall Police Officer Dave Artman. Zagrocki's day started at 7:00 a.m. sharp for role call and included a tour of the station, watching evidence be processed, a D.A.R.E. class at a local elementary school, and a murder trial. Zagrocki plans to pursue a computer science career in the criminal justice system and says the experience gave him valuable insight into the field.

Jenna Tarson was interested in event planning, so arranged a job-shadow at Stage AE with Renee Lutz, Director of Special Events for Stage AE. In addition to being introduced to the job duties inherent in event planning, Tarson made connections with other employees who were impressed with her work ethic and invited her to apply for a position with guest services. Tarson now works part time at Stage AE and is gaining valuable experience.

Senior Haliee Slavonic was interested in real estate, so participated in a job-shadow with local firm Keller Williams. "This experience was not just a job-shadow, it was more of an outlook on my future," Slavonic shared. "They all made the process so simple yet so informative to help me understand the life of real estate and how much work and effort goes into it." The job-shadow blossomed into much more. Keller Williams has given Slavonic a full scholarship to attend the Realtors Education Institute over the summer and then a job with them once she's obtained her real estate license.

Sometimes the experience helps students clarify what they don't want to do. Several years ago a student who wanted to be a nurse witnessed a blood draw on her job-shadowing day—and promptly passed out. She realized that was not the career path for her without wasting time and money in college. Rich Deemer, Senior Social Studies Teacher at BHS, notes, "Only 33% of students who go to college graduate with the major they start in. This course gives them information to make an informed decision."

Grattan points out that the course is student-centric. She explains, "The course is as individual as each of our students. They are planning their future."