Arrow-right Camera


Companies Invite Teens To Shadow Their Workers

Sun., Feb. 1, 1998

If the groundhog sees his shadow Monday morning, he won’t be the only one. That’s because more than 100,000 middle school and high school students will be shadowing workers at 5,000 companies as part of the first “Groundhog Job Shadowing Day.”

Sponsored by a number of national organizations, including Colin Powell’s America’s Promise, the program is not meant to mimic parent-child work days. It is designed to provide students with practical experience about what workers do and what skills are needed to survive in today’s work world. It’s also meant to show them why they must endure classes that can seem long and boring.

“The idea is if you show students at an impressionable age that when they study math they’re not just doing a boring problem, they’ll say, ‘Oh, this is why I go to school,”’ said Al Schweitzer, spokesman for BellSouth Corp., which will host 2,500 students.

“The fact is if you haven’t studied algebra, you’ll never be able to make it in a wireless company today.”

The companies involved contend that business rather than public relations purposes are behind their participation in the program.

“We have a vested interest in these students,” Schweitzer said. “We’ve found that if we work with middle and high school students, they really select their courses more wisely and learn their behaviors better.”


Click here to comment on this story »