ACEC’s Successful E9to5 Program Expanding to Give Students More Job Shadowing Opportunities
Adams County Education Consortium’s (ACEC) Experience 9 to 5 (E9to5) program is designed to give high school students the experiences they need to make informed career choices by providing opportunities for shadowing people in a wide variety of work settings. ACEC introduced its E9to5 program in 2008 as an opportunity for students to self-select hands-on professional interaction in careers of interest.
Historically our program has taken place in the October/November timeframe each year, but its success is driving an expansion. While details are still being worked out, E9to5 opportunities will take place both in the fall and the winter/spring and will involve an even broader selection of work environments beginning in 2017.
Benefits of Job Shadowing
As the students who have participated in E9to5 will tell you, there are many benefits of job shadowing, including:
- Incentive to work hard in school. A job shadowing experience can get a student excited about a future career and increase their motivation to succeed in school.
- Insight on course selection. Learning about the requirements for a particular kind of work can help a student make course selections that put them on a path to that career.
- Expanded view of career options and expectations. As pointed out by Coda Coffee, one of our E9to5 hosts, shadowing often opens a student’s eyes to job opportunities they had not been aware of. And, after attending the event, they have a better understanding of what employers expect from the people they hire.
- Connections with potential employers. Especially for high school seniors who may be looking for work in less than a year, job shadowing can be a way to make a positive impression with an organization they want to work for.
- Shortening the list of options. The goal of job shadowing is to help the student find one or more potential career paths that look interesting. However, part of that process can be learning that a certain job is not as good a fit as they may have thought — and that is very helpful as well.
- Improved business interaction skills. One of the keys to landing a job is being able to communicate with a hiring manager in a relaxed, confident, professional manner. Talking with employers in the context of job shadowing is a great way to get comfortable in a professional setting. Students also learn that interviewing skills are important not just when they first leave school, but whenever they make a professional career shift.
- Engaged families. E9to5 gets family members involved in a student’s career exploration, and that understanding and support can be very important when they begin their job search.
- Improved access to career opportunities. The program helps ensure that children from less affluent families have a chance to connect with employers to whom they might not otherwise have access.
Rave Reviews for the 2016 E9to5 Event
E9to5 continues to produce very positive feedback from students who found it to be fun and informative.
Here’s what one previous participant had to say:
“Experience 9 to 5…where do I begin? I’ve had an idea of what career field I want to explore and study in college, however, it has seemed like such a blur since there are so many details to figure out. I can speak for all high school students when I say that it’s an easy decision on what interests you, but it’s secretly terrifying thinking of how to get to where you want and what it takes. After my experience with the 9 to 5 program, I’ve never felt so relieved and confident. The instruction and advice my hosts gave me not only inspired me, but has led me to develop a strong belief in what I want to pursue a career in, and that it really is possible.”
Parents are also impressed, with one saying,
“Thank you for the opportunity to join our children during the Bioscience presentations this evening. Each presentation was very impressive and well worth the trip for an insight into their future.”
Employers in a number of industries have participated over the years, including:
- Architecture & engineering
- Art, theater & video
- Aviation mechanics
- Beauty, writing & communication
- Construction & skilled trades
- Health & Medical Science
- Plants, Animals and the Environment
Some recent participants included:
Adams County Fire and Rescue
Denver International Airport
Congressman Perlmutter’s office
Emily Griffith Technical College
Galloway & Company Architects and Engineers
Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Carson J. Spencer Foundation
Denver Botanic Gardens
These organizations said they truly enjoyed hosting the students, and many of the employers expressed an interest in continuing the dialogue, either by visiting the school or by having students participate in more in-depth job shadowing experiences. We are also looking into a process for setting students up with volunteer and internship opportunities.
Year-round Resource for Educators
Although the component of E9to5 that focuses on students will be taking place two times a year, ACEC works with educators all year long. We help them show students the connection between what they are studying in school and what they will need to know in different work environments. That focus on knowledge and skills that are applicable in life after school can be a powerful force for keeping students engaged in the classroom.