Job Shadowing


Isaac Gomez, Staff Reporter

In 1999, Washington decided to introduce something new to the school when they decided that it would be a great idea for high school students to participate in job shadows.

Kirkwood Community College offers what is called the Workplace Learning Connections (WLC) gives Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors six fields they can choose from: Agriscience/ Natural Resources, Art and Communications, Business/Info MGMT/ Marketing, Engineering/Industrial/Tech Science, Family and Human Services, and Health Sciences.

Some freshmen may wonder why they aren’t able to participate in job shadows. “Freshman year is a big transition year for students. Waiting until sophomore year allows these students to transition and give them more time to think about their potential career paths. Transportation is often a hindrance for these students as well,” said Mariann Ryan, the WLC representative who works with Wash.

I had the opportunity to complete a job shadow at the Cedar Rapids Gazette along with a junior from Prairie High School, and a junior from the Marion homeschool program. We spent the day with J.R. Ogden, the sports editor of the Gazette. He gave us a quick tour of the building and then we sat down to talk about his typical work day and his responsibilities at the Gazette. After he covered everything, he opened the floor for questions.

I can safely say that job shadows pay off. The experience gave me a clear picture of what journalists have to do every day and what kind of people work at the Gazette. This undoubtedly played a role in my future planning, and since I’m able to continue with job shadows throughout the rest of high school, I will participate in more. The studies are there to prove it too, according to many surveys from Ryan, 97 percent of students who completed them said that it provided great information about their career interests. 78 percent of students that the experience influenced them on their career choices and interests.

Harrison Akers ‘20 was one of many students who completed a job shadow. He is interested in engineering, so it wasn’t a hard decision for him to choose a field to shadow. He believes that job shadows are also very useful. “It’ll help me in the future, and it’s good to get the experience,” said Akers.

Ryan says there are three different outcomes for students who complete a job shadow: “One, it confirms a student’s career interest, two, it helps narrows down the scope of a career interest, or three, it affirms this is not the right career path for the students. Regardless of the outcome, its valuable.”