November 28, 2018:
The Alignment Rockford Job Shadow Team created, planned, and piloted job shadow experiences for East High School Junior students this past November. Students were able to visit a local business with their desired career. Each student had hands-on training in the field and one-on-one time with career experts. By the end of the day, the students have a greater understanding of a day in the life of their desired career.
We sat down with Bill Rose, Academy Coach at East High School and member of the Alignment Rockford Job Shadow Team, to talk about the experience of planning and implementing a pilot.
How did the team decide to focus on job shadows?
Bill: Job Shadows were a clear need based on our Work Based Continuum. We already are meeting some of our goals in providing students mock interviews, resume workshops, job and career fairs, academic competitions and Capstone classes. Our missing link was Job shadows, so we wanted to address that basic need for students.
How long did it take to plan this initiative?
Bill: The Alignment team has been meeting for about a year. The planning for this specific event has been the last 4-6 months.
What is the main goal of the job shadow pilot?
Bill: Just like a majority of the work we do, our goal is to make sure we provide curriculum and experiences that are real-life and provide training for college and career. This pilot is no different.
Have you even had a job shadow experience? Was it valuable?
Bill: In high school I never had the opportunity. I feel like our students are getting an experience that other school districts are not focusing on. I wish I had the experience because I probably wouldn’t have changed majors in college so much.
How do you think the first date went? Is there room for improvements?
Bill: As in all new programs, there is always room for improvement. However, the students’ attitude and responses to the experience were very clear. They learned a lot about what life is like in the career track they are pursuing. They also enjoyed the fact that they met a potential mentor or contact person that now knows what they are doing in school. It was a win-win for our students and local businesses. We need to provide more hands on activities. Students like to feel and touch the places they go to. Sit and get education is not the type of work we want for our students, so anytime we can provide them an opportunity to “do something” we can have a lasting impact on their education.
What do you hope to see come out of this pilot in the future?
Bill: The obvious answer is student growth. We want students to know their options, know the education needs they will have to pursue in the near future and create a game plan. I hope to see this program expand and light a torch in our businesses and manufacturing sectors. We have talented students we can put up against any school, if given the opportunity to soar.
What is it like working on a collective impact team?
Bill: The Alignment team is one of the highlights of my career. My idea of education is an idea I call “community education.” Any time you have stakeholder groups from the community doing work to influence learning and wants to get their hands dirty, I believe that shows the investment of our citizens into our district. The work we are doing has an impact on our community and it is always a pleasure seeing the ideas from community members.