Students get glimpse of life in workplace

April 23, 1993|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

Sixteen county students got a chance Thursday to see what it's really like to work for a living, and some were surprised by what they saw.

"They had so much to do," said Temika Young, an 18-year-old Annapolis High School senior who spent the morning at Annapolis National Bank as part of a program for county teen-agers. "They do a greater variety of things than I thought."

"I was surprised they all got along so well, despite the fact they were really busy," said Tracy Authement, a senior at Glen Burnie High, who went to work with employees of the Anne Arundel Trade Council, an organizer of yesterday's event.

"At the kinds of jobs we work at, like fast food and clothing stores, I think people get angry at each other more. They yell and stuff. This was more professional."

The students from Annapolis, Meade and Glen Burnie high schools are all members of Maryland's Tomorrow, an organization geared to helping students at-risk of dropping out stay in school.

Carol Dreyfuss, communications director for the trade council, said the organization decided to get involved with planning the first "Shadow Day" because members believed the experience would help students learn about careers and set goals.

"The goal of this program was to expose students to real-life, on-the-job career experiences, to show them things they might be interested in," she said. "This is just one factor in helping them form goals for the future."

"We're very interested in education and business-education partnerships," said executive vice president Jeanette Wessel, explaining why the council got involved with the project. "We want to show students what it's like in the real world -- let them get a taste of various professions."

The county's Private Industry Council and Business and Work-force Development Center also were involved in organizing the event.

Eleven county businesses participated in Shadow Day, including the Anne Arundel Medical Center, Jones Intercable, the Annapolis Holiday Inn and Marley Station Dental Center.

Students spent time with bankers at Annapolis National Bank and engineers at John E. Harms & Associates in Pasadena. They learned about word processing at Word Movers in Millersville and merchandising at Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie.

Organizers tried as much as possible to match students' career interests with the businessmen and women they shadowed from 9 a.m. to noon.

Students said they enjoyed their experiences and learned they would have to do lots of work -- including four years of college -- to achieve their goals and land the types of jobs they really wanted.

"You need to go to college," Tracy said. "If you don't, you won't get this kind of job."

"I thought it was interesting. I learned what it would be like day to day and it didn't get boring at all," said Shelly Caulder, a senior at Glen Burnie High who is interested in computers and accounting. She spent the morning at Annapolis National Bank.

Damisi Price, 18, a senior at Annapolis High, said he was most interested in the new technology used by Harms & Associates, the company where she spent the day.

"They used to do all the designs and blueprints by hand, but now they use computers. It's all high tech," he said. "It was exciting -- a new experience for me."

Ed Ladd, general manager of Marley Station Mall who had two student "shadows," said the students had "millions of questions" about what it takes to become a success in business.

"They wanted to know, 'Is it just schooling?' 'Or is experience most important?' 'What does it take to own your business?' 'How much does it cost to open a store?,' " he said.

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