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Work-Based Learning Opportunities

By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education

Have you considered participating in a job shadow or internship? Students throughout Utah, through the Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning program, have the opportunity to participate in job shadows (short-term work experience) and/or internships (long-term work experience) while in middle/junior high or high school. Participation in a job shadow will help you understand how classroom learning is applied in the world of work. Through this structured career activity you will play an active role in learning by observing an employee at a work site to gain valuable career information.

There are many ways for you to learn. You can learn in the classroom or learn in a real work setting. Learning becomes even more meaningful when it is performed in a real work setting. Participating in a job shadow and/or internship will provide you with an opportunity to relate what you are learning in school to the world of work and can provide you with the following skills:

Time management Interpersonal communication Leadership
Following directions Responsibility Ethics

A job shadow experience typically will last from three to six hours at a work site. During the job shadow experience, you will:

  • Observe a range of activities performed on the job.
  • Receive information about possible career interests.
  • Gain insight into the academic, technical and personal skills needed for a particular occupation.
  • Understand connections between education and careers.

Although a job shadow and an internship are both typically unpaid, the knowledge you will gain, the experiences in which you participate, and the connections you will make will be invaluable. You may not receive monetary compensation for your time, but the experience and school credit you gain are huge benefits as you prepare for life after high school. Job shadows and internships take students one step closer to becoming college and career ready!

Imagine shadowing a Web developer and learning how to effectively write code for a new website.

Imagine shadowing an engineer and learning how the concepts you studied in your engineering design class
apply to a construction site.

Imagine shadowing a nurse and learning how to take blood from a patient and then sending it to the lab for processing.

Participating in a job shadow and/or internship will help to prepare you with education and skills for the ever-changing world of work. We encourage you to talk to the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at your school to learn how to get started. Each year over 150,000 students participate in fantastic work-based learning opportunities. Make sure you’re one of them!

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