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Students, businesses gearing up for third annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day

January 27, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

With Feb. 2 fast approaching, Imperial County students and businesses are gearing up for the third annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day, one of the most popular school events of the year.

About 500 Imperial County students will participate in the national event that will give the students firsthand knowledge of different careers.

In its third year organizing the event, Imperial County Office of Education's School-to-Career program will place 450 junior high and high school students in more than 80 businesses.

While the event is geared toward older kids, some elementary students will participate, Schoors said.

"Right now students have been placed in about 80 businesses, though 100 have volunteered (to host students)," said Ron Schoors, ICOE School-to-Career coordinator.


Schoors estimates a 20 percent increase over last year in both the number of participating business and students.

Earlier in the school year students filled out applications for the event and listed the professions they'd most like to shadow.

"Not every student who applies gets to go," Schoors said, adding the event's organizers want students who are really interested and not just looking to get out of school for a day.

Groundhog Job Shadow Day organizers then review the applications and begin matching students with employers, Schoors said.

The day is an opportunity for students to spend a day or portion of a day working with someone doing something in which they're interested, Schoors said.

"It's an opportunity to ask questions about what kind of education is needed and what the job market is like in that profession," Schoors said.

The exposure to the day-to-day activities performed in that job may encourage students to go forward with their educational pursuits, Schoors said.

Even if students decide not to go into their shadow day career, the experience will help the young people narrow their options.

The Imperial Irrigation District, a large supporter of Groundhog Job Shadow Day, will host about 50 students Wednesday, as employees will not be at work Friday.

The Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program's School-to-Career operation is organizing four group tours for students of the Heber School District, said Deborah Harrold, STC coordinator.

Students will visit the U.S. Customs Service, Wal-Mart, Pep Boys and Hungry Howie's Pizza in Calexico.

"It has really turned into a big program that kids are excited about," Schoors said.

It helps kids go beyond straight academic subjects and learn about the real world of work, Schoors said.

Thankful for the support of local businesses, Schoors said he thinks the community's involvement sends a message to parents that "the community is willing to help kids."

Staff Writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3442.

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