Summer is a great time for young people to job shadow

The national 4-H “Build Your Future” curriculum can help enhance the job shadow experience.

Youth job shadowing

Job shadowing is a wonderful way for young people to explore jobs and careers they may be interested in pursuing for the future. Summertime provides added venues for job shadowing as you think about all of the different camps, events and numerous activities going on throughout the summer months. Also, youth may have a bit more flexibility in their schedules to spend a day or several hours shadowing someone.

According to Michigan State University’s Career Services Network, talking to current professionals is a great way to determine if a career field is for an individual. While visiting a professional in their own work environment, a young person has “a chance to observe daily office activities, ask questions and consider the potential pros and cons of a particular profession or industry.”

In addition, youth will witness firsthand the workplace skills and career preparation experiences that may be important to the success of the chosen job or career field. The Career Services Network also provides a list of steps for having a successful job shadow or informational interview experience.

The national 4-HBuild Your Future: Choices…Connections…Careers” resource includes materials to use for job shadowing as a part of the Activity 2: Making Career Connections. Build Your Future was a curriculum project of Michigan State University Extension. A worker worksheet helps the individual doing the job shadowing to prepare for and get the most out of the experience. There is a place to list tasks completed along with helping a person reflect on whether they would like, or not like, doing each task every day. It also provides a variety of questions to help a person process the job shadow experience.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, email us at

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