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A study by California-based Kravis Leadership Institute ( found that students who participate in job shadowing tend to have more positive expectations about their futures, believing that they are more likely to finish high school, obtain a college degree, and get a fulltime job than are non-participants.
"I would say 11, 12, 13 are good ages to start job shadowing," says Richard Lynch, professor of occupational studies at the University of Georgia's School of Leadership and Lifelong Learning in Athens.
But successful job shadowing programs require planning and organization, Lynch stresses; and van der Spuy and others involved in facilitating these activities agree: Job shadowing should not resemble a field trip.
As a result of these efforts, 16 California construction associations participated in job shadowing. In Sacramento alone, 75 students participated in shadowing sponsored by four local associations.
It also plans to hold regional seminars in July to promote job shadowing as well as give serious consideration to expanding its efforts to include a "California Construction Career Day" in October, followed by Groundhog Job Shadow Day in February.
Mike and Renata took part in job shadowing. Like thousands of other students each year, they went to a jobsite and spent a day watching, asking questions, and learning how classroom studies tie in with the real world of work.
In each of these cases, job shadowing gives you a window to look at a working future--and a diverting break from academic life.