Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., and Dylan Wells, a Weslaco High School junior, were among the participants when the Rio Grande Valley Partnership and Tech Prep of the Rio Grande Valley celebrated the beginning of regional Job Shadow Days initiatives in Weslaco on February 2, 2012.
In 2011, Tech Prep laid the groundwork for over 350 Valley high school students representing 14 campuses to get behind-the-scenes experiences with 36 local employers. For Job Shadow Days 2012, Tech Prep hopes to increase the number of students and employers participating. Job Shadow Day events will continue on February 23 and later in the spring.
According to Senator Lucio, “Students in the Valley need this program. We need to do everything possible to help educate students and to better the program by working with schools, businesses, and colleges.” Senator Lucio, a strong supporter of Tech Prep’s initiatives, thanked Tech Prep for maintaining the job shadowing program, stating, “Tech Prep connects young people to local businesses, cultivating real links.”
Dylan Wells shared his own job-shadowing experiences, stating that a job shadowing experience in 2011 confirmed his own desire to pursue a career in business.
Julian Alvarez, President/CEO of the RGV Partnership, affirmed the Partnership’s commitment: “We are excited to partner with Tech Prep... this program will benefit economic development because economic development depends on our future workforce.” Alvarez, who assumed his role as leader of the RGV Partnership on February 1, is a member of the Tech Prep Board of Directors.
Sergio Contreras, AT&T’s External Affairs Director for the region, provided an employer perspective: “An educated workforce is what is going to take us to the next level.” Contreras, who serves on Tech Prep’s Executive Board, shared information about AT&T’s commitment to job shadowing initiatives. AT&T is a Job Shadow Days supporter at the national level.
At the national level, the Job Shadow Days campaign is sponsored not only by AT&T, but also by America’s Promise and other organizations. The purpose of the initiative is to give students a new perspective on their studies through hands-on learning and a one-day mentoring experience. Students are paired with a mentor who they will “shadow” throughout the day to experience the way the skills they learn in the classroom can be applied to the world of work.
Tech Prep has led the Job Shadow Days initiative in the Rio Grande Valley for over 10 years, working closely with cities, counties, school districts, students, and numerous individual employers.
Many employers and community leaders participated in the Job Shadow Days opening ceremony to show their support. Representatives of Cameron County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and the cities of Donna, Harlingen, Lyford, Mission, San Benito, McAllen and Weslaco presented Tech Prep with job shadow proclamations documenting their commitment.