Job Shadow Day bolsters student success

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Flanked by the city’s leading employers, Mayor Ivy Taylor announce the second annual Job Shadow Day at a recent press conference at City Hall. (Photo, Christina Acosta)

Nearly 3,000 students across Bexar County participated in the citywide Job Shadow Day on Feb. 2 for a half-day of onsite experience-based learning.

Students from grades 8 thorugh12 came from over 14 school districts, including private and charter schools. They had the opportunity to meet with 105 employers in 15 diverse industries such as engineering, health care, finance, business and government relations to learn valued employee skills.

Local companies including H-E-B, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, CPS Energy, Toyota, Accenture, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County had the opportunity to expose the city’s future workforce to typical duties.

“I’m sure you have heard my vision before, San Antonio is a globally competitive city connected to opportunities that will help [students] improve their lives,” expounded Mayor Taylor Thursday morning. “As corporal citizens, companies are going to leave a lasting impact exposing our local students to quality careers that are available in San Antonio. Today, the City will be hosting 310 students across 9 City Departments.”

Forty-nine percent of U.S. employers recognize that talent shortages impact their ability to serve clients and customers, stated Junior Achievement, a youth organization; and 91 percent of millennials wish they had greater access to entrepreneurial education programs.

In order for the city to move forward with preparing high school students to enter the workforce, Job Shadow Day was revived two years ago. SA Works is on a mission to give kids a head start to offer educators and students a minimum of 20,000 experiential learning opportunities by the year 2020.

Katie Chain, program manager at H-E-B, stated that Job Shadow Day will also help students learn that although the company is known for groceries, jobs extend further than checking and bagging. In fact, many students can build future connections that can lead to internships, and therefore, keep a talented workforce in San Antonio.

“Job Shadow Day creates mentorships so these students can make lifelong connections and people can call on them,” stated Chain. “We also talk about [high school] internships in several different areas of business. Students have gone to college and still intern for us and do additional internships during their college time.”

Job Shadow Day exists as an extension of the SA Works mission to address San Antonio’s labor skills gap and offer educators and students experiential learning opportunities. It also attempts to equip students with: knowledge of company culture, diverse career avenues and marketable skills, and ensure a symbiotic hiring process between San Antonio’s future skilled workforce and local employers. Other major SA Works initiatives include summer jobs and teacher externships.

Visit www.sanantonioworks.org and www.jast.org for more details about the program and the goals to make San Antonio greater for students by the year 2020.

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