Albany Area (GA) Chamber of Commerce Inviting Students to Explore STEM Careers
The Albany Area (GA) Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Dougherty County Schools and the Georgia Work Ready initiative to connect local high school students with opportunities to investigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Termed the Work Ready Job Shadowing program, students are teamed up with local businesses to learn about more opportunities in the STEM fields and about entrepreneurship. Students are nominated by teachers to participate and are required to write essays explaining why they want to participate and what their career interests are. In February 2010, the chamber kicked off their first ever job-shadowing event in which 38 students spent four hours with business and industry professionals. Mentors from a variety of industries, including architecture, nursing, dentistry, and veterinary medicine offered their time and expertise to students.
The program was also beneficial to local business professionals. As mentors, many professionals were pleased to discover an unprecedented interest in their jobs.
“I was a little surprised to see so many students interested in construction,” said Curtis Bickerstaff, a superintendent with LRA Constructors. “It was very enjoyable to answer their questions and have them be so inquisitive about the process.”
The Chamber and its partners seek to give students, who will soon enter the workforce, a clear understanding of the world of work. Without exposure to a variety of industries, some students may not ever discover their interest in a certain career that actually lies right in their backyards. The Work Ready Job Shadowing program is bringing great benefits to Albany by introducing local careers to Albany students, encouraging the economic development of the region, and connecting the education system to the regional workforce.