In what is being called a rousing success by participants, the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce sponsored job shadow event hosted the highest number of applicants in the history of the program with 37 students and 43 applicants.
For more than 15 years, the Chamber of Commerce has hosted a job shadow event where high school students get to pal around with people in the professions they aspire to, in the hopes of getting a real look, behind-the-scenes snapshot of their career choice as well as vie for a scholarship from the chamber.
This year, the number of applicants represented a range of different careers and aspirations, making placing the students a fun challenge for the chamber.
“It’s very encouraging,” Mary Guardiola, Chief Executive Officer of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce said. “Overall, it was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. Hearing their experiences and seeing their enthusiasm, as well as ‘seeing’ your job through their eyes is very exciting.”
Following the job shadow, which took up the morning, the students returned to the community center for lunch and to present what they’d learned in the hopes of landing one of the six scholarships offered by the chamber (there were four $750 general scholarships and two $500 agricultural scholarships).
“There was a really good variety of careers represented and all of the students were very appreciative of the opportunity,” Guardiola said.
Tamberly Humble, program coordinator for the newly opened Center for Human Services, was thrilled with her student, saying she felt so lucky to have been placed with a student who shared her passion for social work.
“I loved the experience,” Humble said. “The student I had was very passionate about what she wanted to do given her life experiences. She was very inspiring. She showed me how life experiences can really affect your choices. She is going to make a wonderful social worker.”
Humble said her student is already signed up to attend Fresno State in the honors program and she will be the first person in her family to attend college.
“I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have been placed with this student,” Humble said. “I would absolutely do the job shadow again. It was a very rewarding experience.”
Humble went the extra mile by making a solid connection with the student and is committed to helping her achieve some goals in her personal life.
Another job shadow participant, Oakdale Leader Editor Marg Jackson, said of the experience, “It was a great opportunity to show a student interested in this business all that goes in to it. People often think a small, weekly paper doesn’t come with the pressures and deadlines of a larger daily paper but we were able to share the information about the deadlines we have to meet every day and the process we go through.
“We had two job shadow students visit The Leader office and I think they both went away with a good concept of what it takes to succeed in the writing world.”
Another aspect of the job shadow is that students get the opportunity to see the “real deal” not the romanticized ideal of their chosen profession and some realized the profession wasn’t for them.
“Which,” Guardiola said, “is actually a good thing. It’s better to discover that before you get put on a path for that career.”
Anyone interested in participating in the job shadow next year should contact the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce at 847-2244.