Harlingen Students Shadowing at the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Center:  Left to Right:  Christine Gozdalski, Liliana Saldivar, and College & Career Laison Veronic Perez;  Back Row-Left to Right:  Brandon Hawkins, Ramiro Valdez, & Jeremy Marquez

Job Shadowing Gives Harlingen High School South Students a Firsthand Look at Their Career Pathways

On December 13, 2011, Tech Prep RGV gave several Harlingen High School South students the opportunity to explore various career pathways of their choice.  The Speech and Debate students experienced a half-day of job shadowing to learn and understand various employer sites such as the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Center, City of Harlingen, TSTC University Center, and the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation.    These bright young individuals are all are eager to learn, and most of them are taking Tech Prep classes which help them get a head-start in college. At the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Center, Christine Gozdalski, Brandon Hawkins, Jeremy Marquez, Liliana Saldivar, and Ramiro Valdez visited and learned from Chief Ramirez, the District Attorney’s office, criminal investigations, the Defense Attorney, Boot Camp Supervisors, and took a tour through the outside perimeter of the detention center.   Area Supervisor Michael Martinez shared about the various juvenile programs at the center and also told the students about some of the troubles and experiences juveniles go through. 

Harlingen Students Shadowing at the TSTC University Center:  Left to Right-Lisa Cavazos, Executive Director, TSTC University Center; Collin Flemmons; Desiree Pizano, Luana Chaires, Chris Esparza, and Speech and Debate Teacher Tasha Kneis

After learning about the struggles and difficulties a juvenile can experience, ninth grade student Liliana Saldivar felt that she might be “too sensitive and emotional to work in that area.” Liliana plans to study Law; however, during the job shadowing experience she was exposed to a different aspect of law enforcement.  She still plans on following her career pathway, just “not working with young adults or as a probation officer.”

Meanwhile, Luana Chaires, Desiree Pizano, Chris Esparza, and Collin Flemmons shadowed at the TSTC University Center and the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation and learned about the positions and role and responsibilities of various departments.  Faculty and staff shared their experiences and also shared how they chose their career pathways.    Laurie Simmons, Executive Director of RCIC, who is in charge of emerging technology at the University Center, gave the students great advice:  She said, “Writing skills and grammar are important to know…people are paying attention and these skills will take you a long way.” She continued by adding, “When I interview people, I like for them to ask questions, I like interaction and I check to see if they did their research on my company.”  Students learned about the various skills it takes to get a job.  Chris Esparza said, “I now have a brighter aspect of the skills needed to get a job.” 

By observing, questioning and listening to the advice and experience of the employers, the students have broadened their job shadowing experiences and now have a firsthand look at the workplace in their career pathway.  Though job shadowing and taking Tech Prep courses, students get hands-on experience.  A junior in high school, Luana Chaires, plans to study law enforcement.  Luana takes Tech Prep classes such as forensics and principles of law, and she said, “The courses have also taught me about the numerous jobs that are in the law field and I now have a better perspective of what jobs in that field have to offer.”
Tech Prep of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc. © 2010