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County middle schools to participate in job shadowing

Posted: January 21, 2011 11:46 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County middle schools will join the nation next month by recognizing Groundhog Shadowing Day Feb. 4. Seventh- and eighth-grade students will be allowed to go to work with a parent, relative or neighbor to learn more about the workplace and potential careers.

Last year more than 1,000 local middle school students shadowed in area businesses and industries as part of the district’s annual Go to Work with Your Parent or Relative Day, which has expanded to include neighbors and close friends of students.

 “This is one of the most popular workplace learning activities we do each year,” said Ed Garrison, the district’s coordinator for career education activities. “For many students this opportunity is their first introduction to the workplace and the skills necessary to be a productive employee.

 “I encourage all Kershaw County businesses to take part in this activity and host one or more students, particularly if they are the son or daughter of one of their employees.”

Garrison said the goal is to help students learn more about careers and workplace expectations.

“Not only can it be a good bonding experience for the parent and child, it can also open up a whole new world for students in terms of possible careers to consider as they head on to high school and beyond,” he said.

Students who participate must have written permission from their parent or guardian and the business they are shadowing.

“We are asking area employers to allow their employees to once again host their son, daughter, relative or even a neighbor if a request comes across their desk,” added Garrison. “It’s a fantastic learning opportunity all the way around.”

To help make the activity more meaningful and not just a day off from school, students are given assignments to complete upon their return to the classroom that relates to the shadowing.

Garrison said alternate career-related activities will be made available this year for teachers to use with their students who remain in the classroom Feb. 5.

“This will allow students to explore careers by either going online to approved Internet sites for virtual shadowing experiences or by viewing closed-circuit video programming,” he explained.

Garrison said all students are able to shadow and “we want to offer them and our sixth grade options for some career exposure.” Last year more than 500 students participated in virtual shadowing activities in the classroom.

Job shadowing is one of many workplace leaning opportunities offered students in Kershaw County schools. High school shadowing is offered to students beginning in the ninth grade and is available throughout the year. Internships are also available to high school students beginning in the 11th grade.

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