Seminole State College of Florida students have more opportunity than ever to earn real-world job experience as the Career Development Center’s (CDC) Job Shadow Program picks up momentum.
The Job Shadow Program, which began in Fall 2014, offers students and recent graduates an opportunity to explore careers, experience a professional work environment, network with industry professionals, and observe skills and job tasks related to their field.
“The purpose of the Job Shadow Program is to give students an opportunity to explore specific career fields and industries while networking with local employers,” says Brittany Shivers, a coordinator for the CDC who runs the Job Shadow Program. “We have heard from countless students how the Job Shadow Program has positively impacted them in various ways, from confirming their career choices to broadening their perspectives into fields they had not considered before.”
The program works with local companies and employers to provide students with a variety of opportunities. This allows students who are unsure of their career goals to explore a new field, and it gives students who know what they want to do the opportunity to learn more about their preferred path. The experience lasts approximately one week, depending on the schedule determined by the employer.
“We try to have a good variety of fields available, and our list is always growing,” Shivers says. “Our list of participating employers increased in the fall, and we anticipate an even bigger list for students in the spring.”
Eligible students are able to log in to Career Link to view available job shadow opportunities. In the fall, the 13 students who participated found offers in a wide array of fields, including information systems technology, writing, nursing, interior design, marketing, engineering and much more.
And students say the program is giving them valuable experience and networking opportunities to help them pursue their goals.
One such student is Rebecca Marshall, 21, of Winter Springs. While at Seminole State, she earned her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree with a focus in digital media and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in creative writing at the University of Central Florida. During her job shadow experience last May, she worked with Danny Huffman, an author at Education Career Services.
“Some of the goals I have for when I finish school include becoming a storyboard artist, an author or possibly even a school teacher,” she says. “I would like to try and become a professional writer/artist and inspire people through what I make.”
Marshall had the opportunity to help write short stories to be used in a book series aimed at adolescents who are on probation. She says the experience helped her learn to see situations from a variety of perspectives, a crucial skill for a prospective writer.
James Wisniewski, who is working toward his Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Information Systems Technology at Seminole State, says the Job Shadow Program helped prepare him for the demands of working as a network administrator.
“I felt the pressures of constant interruptions but enjoyed the atmosphere of constantly being busy with something,” the 27-year-old Altamonte Springs resident says. “There was never a dull moment.”
Wisniewski shadowed under Mike Patitucci, a network specialist at Lake Brantley High School. Wisniewski says he was able to learn about his field firsthand and make good connections that might help him find future employment. He says the experience also helped him secure a work-study job at Seminole State’s CTS HelpDesk.
To qualify for the Job Shadow Program, students must complete an interest form and be registered by a CDC employee for a special course in Canvas, Seminole State’s online learning management system. Through the ungraded, self-paced course, students are required to complete several modules designed to help them prepare for their job shadow experience. These modules cover relevant topics like networking, professionalism, writing resumes and cover letters, and tips on what to do after the program’s conclusion.
While there’s no set cap for enrollees, participation in the Job Shadow Program is limited by the number of positions available each semester. The next program is set to run approximately the first week after the Spring Term, May 1-5, with another program planned for August. Students are encouraged to sign up early even if the May positions fill up, because their applications can be carried over and used for the August program. Students who previously participated in the program are invited to enroll again as long as they meet the requirements.
“This job shadowing experience was brief,” says Wisniewski, “but it has gotten my foot in the door and has made me aware of the various aspects of what I will be called upon to know how to do.”
To learn more about the benefits of the Job Shadow Program, or to submit an interest form, visit the program’s website.
Seminole State's Career Development Center is dedicated to providing students and the community with valuable career resources and services. For more information, including a full list of upcoming events and opportunities, visit the Career Development Center website.
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