This year we have the privilege once again to have two Shepherd interns through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty spending the summer with FSH, working with our families. Palmer and Esmely have both immersed themselves in the Louisville community, embraced our families and the mission of Family Scholar House. Below you will find an entry from Palmer – showcasing our Job Shadowing program and the significant impact it has on our single parent students.
When asked if the job shadowing program confirmed her original goals, Megan said that her experience did not show her what she wanted to do. Instead, it showed her a new opportunity. After shadowing, Megan changed her career path from immigration law to industrial engineering. Something she had not previously been exposed to but find it to be the perfect fit for her skills and passion.
As part of our mission for participants to achieve self-sufficiency, we piloted a job shadowing program this fall. Now on our third semester, students are able to see what day-to-day life looks like by observing different professionals in the career of their choice.
“There is the idea or dream of the career path we want and then there is job shadowing. I [now] live in a reality of what my future can hold with my desired job position,” one participant said.
Often participants are unsure of all the possibilities for future career choices because they have had little previous interaction with professional environments. Being able to experience these agencies first hand gives participants insight into what their future could look like.
From the very first time we meet with our families, we discuss their passion and assist them in matching passion and skills with a career that fits the career goals. Job shadowing allows participants to rethink the limitations they had on themselves and look with fresh eyes at careers they may have previously thought unattainable. Before shadowing, participants are provided with professional etiquette lessons, wardrobe assistance and resume consultation. Learning how to act and dress professionally equips participants with skills they can take away from their experiences to apply in their future careers.
For Aaliyah, who shadowed four different places, this opportunity helped her pinpoint the specific area she was most interested in. She was also able to learn from every agency she visited and make lasting professional connections.
“I’m still learning, but these experiences helped steer me. Each place provided me with unique insight,” she said.
When shadowing, Chalee said that she went into the experience open-minded and her time there expanded her idea of what HR is. “Where you start doesn’t have to be your end game. Think about how to take skills and transform them into where you want to go,” Chalee said, sharing her greatest takeaway from her conversations with professionals.
Multiple professionals set aside time to engage one-on-one with participants about their goals and passions. They remarked how impressed they were with participants’ level of interest in different types of opportunities and how refreshing it was to hear a new perspective on their profession.
“I would advise anyone and everyone to take advantage of the job shadowing opportunity,” one participant said, “In particular those of us that are starting out only with ideas, this program helps you make a more concrete decision concerning what you want your future to look like.”
THANK YOU to the community partners that make our job shadowing program possible. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved – contact Helene Trager-Kusman at firstname.lastname@example.org