The L&S Career Services Spring Break Job Shadow Program, which occurred during Spring Break (April 2 to 6, 2012) was a very successful opportunity for approximately 16 students to visit 7 employers in major geographical regions of the U.S. The goal of the program was for students to explore their career interests and goals, learn about various types of job functions at an employer, and build a network of professionals and mentors. In turn, students were able to identify internship and full-time opportunities available at the employers. Participating employers in the program were Covance, Her Exchange, John Kohler Arts Center, Rockwell Automation, Teach for America, UW Credit Union, and Wisconsin Trails Magazine.
Most of the employer hosts were UW alumni that either worked directly with L&S Career Services or with other UW affiliated programs. The alumni hosts provided opportunities for students to observe meetings, go on informational interviews, do case studies, and get some hands-in practice with various job functions.
We are pleased to share some testimonials and success stories from both the student and employer hosts. These were drawn from the results of a survey sent to the participants and hosts. Our office looks forward to building on the success of this program as we look ahead to the summer and coming academic year. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any additional information or if you have any questions. Meanwhile, please enjoy the testimonials! Greg Iaccarino, firstname.lastname@example.org
RESPONSES TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION ASKED OF STUDENTS:
Do you have a better understanding of the types of jobs at the employers you visited?
What did you learn?
At the UW Credit Union headquarters I learned quite a deal about the various positions, the organizational structure, the benefits of the company, and the education and experience background of many of the current employees.
I learned how the UWCU works and runs. It helped me understand more about different positions and their roles.
I shadowed a TFA Teacher at Hayes Bilingual Elementary. It was interesting to see a fourth grade classroom in action and it helped me figure out which age I would like to teach if I become a teacher and/or participate in Teach for America. I was pretty set on doing Teach for America before hand and I am just as sure now.
My experience with TFA was excellent, Kurt did a great job of both answering my questions and showing me what an average day looked like. I was able to hear about the legitimate pros and cons of the program and learn more about the type of skills and attributes necessary to succeed in the problem.
I learned the company culture, and what specific jobs each employer does.
The job shadow was very helpful in showing the job positions and guaging my own personal interest.
L&S Career Services and the employer I visited were very helpful in setting up everything very well and laying out a structured plan for everyone.
Thank you for setting up these opportunities in the community.
RESPONSES TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION ASKED OF EMPLOYERS:
What were some positive aspects about your visits with the students?
Did you find your time to be positive and productive with the students that you worked with?
Did you sense that the students felt that they had a quality experience at your organization?
I felt that the time my colleagues and I spent with the student who shadowed for the day was very beneficial. I think she learned a lot about HR - the way that departments are structured in a large organization, the different types of roles, internships, what we do day-to-day etc. We also talked a lot about the transition from college into the working world - both positives and challenges. We would like to stay in touch with the student who came in to discuss future internship opportunities with her.
We perceived that the students had a very positive experience.
One of the UW students stayed until the end of the day and did a question and answer session with my fourth graders. My students were really excited to have a college student in the classroom and had a lot of great questions for him. Will was very gracious with his time during the day and was a great sport answering questions my students had.
My visitor asked a lot of great questions and was able to see what TFA was like first-hand. I also had an opportunity to introduce him to co-workers and my principal, who essentially offered to provide an interview if he decided to do the program in the St. Louis area in two years. Overall, it seemed like a good experience on all fronts.
Our student was very inquisitive, and we felt she asked a lot of appropriate questions about our organization and about HR. Good job preparing her!
I like the idea of the program, and hope such efforts continue on a larger scale in the future. In these times as the costs of higher education continue to increase due to lack of state and federal funding and the lengthening of average time to graduation for many students, it's important that students (especially in the letters and sciences, where the path to a career is often not as explicit as say in business or in a professional program) have career exploration opportunities. Tapping into the broad Badger network is a great way to provide such experiences.
By Greg Iaccarino, Career & Internship Advisor, Job Shadow Program Coordinator