Click the image to view the JA Job Shadow™ program brief.

Click the image to view the JA Job Shadow™ program brief.

The JA Job Shadow™ brings together JA's proven, hands-on curriculum with a visit to a workplace to give students an up-close look into the working world. This experience is designed to provide students with a bridge from the classroom to the future; helping them make connections to the skills they will need to thrive in the workplace, as well as the importance of doing well in school. The JA Job Shadow™ prepares students to be entrepreneurial thinkers in their approach to work and to thrive in demanding and ever-changing workplaces.



Students are introduced to the JA Job Shadow® program and the Seven Steps to Get Hired and Succeed. Through a close examination of specific skills and career clusters, they learn the key factors to investigate in career planning: skills, interest, work priorities, and job outlook.



Students review the Steven Steps to Get Hired and Succeed and analyze job-hunting skills. They then participate in mock interviews to prepare them for the Job Shadow Challenge at the site visit.


Students visit a business, nonprofit organization, or governmental organization, where they observe professional work conduct, learn what skills and education they need to earn jobs, and participate in a series of host-led challenges that bring home lessons from the "real world" of work.



Students reflect on what they learned before and during the workplace visit, and they practice business communication by composing a thank-you note. They then create one of four career-preparation tools: a career assessment, elevator pitch, resume, or infographic profile. 



Read more from the JA Worldwide® white paper, "How Business Can Help Attack the Dropout Crisis in America."

Why do students – many with tremendous potential -- drop out of school? Many students with passing grades drop out of school because they are bored and unable to comprehend the connection between classroom success and getting a good job, according to the groundbreaking 2006 survey report, The Silent Epidemic, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Sixty-nine percent - or 7 in 10 - of the respondents, who included nearly 500 ethnically and racially diverse students from cities, suburbs and rural areas, reported they simply were not motivated.
  • Four out of five (81 percent) of students who participated in the Gates Foundation survey said there should be a stronger connection between school and work and that there should be more opportunities for real-world, experiential learning.

These survey results constitute a loud wake-up call for an innovative approach to education that demonstrates relevancy to contemporary life. One program that forges the critical link between school and the workplace is the JA Job Shadow™.

The JA Job Shadow™ links schools and businesses by providing students with an opportunity to spend time in a real workplace. Students learn from professionals about the skills and competencies necessary to be successful. They need this kind of connection to businesses, because in today’s service economy they often do not know exactly what adults do at work, as young people did in agrarian and industrial times. The JA Job Shadow™ helps students learn about work by taking them behind the scenes in a business, often providing their first real look at jobs in the 21st Century. Spending time at a work site can even help change students’ attitudes about school and about their future.

A recent report that surveyed students after the JA job Shadow™ found that:

  • 98 percent of students agreed that doing well in school helps them achieve career goals Job shadowing helps students learn about work by taking them behind the scenes in a business.
  • 90 percent of students felt the Job Shadow experience made them more aware of career options
  • 88 percent of students felt that participating in Job Shadow made them realize the importance of staying in school

JA Job Shadow™ programs also strengthen the relationship between a school and its community. Teachers develop working partnerships with businesses; and businesses respond by engaging with educators, administrators, and students. Typically, a company’s biggest investments in a job shadow program are the time that volunteers spend with students - yet this small investment can have a life-changing impact on a teen. It is possible that a JA Job Shadow™ connection between school and work could be the catalyst that motivates some students to pursue their dreams with true passion and change our world.