Junior Achievement pairs five eleventh grade students from HP Andrews High School with employees at Timco Aviation [now Haeco Americas] to job shadow them one day a week for five weeks. This program addresses all of the skill sets that employers say are missing in today’s workforce.

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The relationship between High Point Community Foundation and Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina (JA) started in 2002 and continues to be a treasured relationship today. Through the generosity of the High Point Community Foundation, they have been able to reach approximately 1,500 High Point students. The age appropriate programs in K-12 have made an impact on students in elementary, middle and high school. To have a business volunteer mentor students and introduce them to the “world of work” is a life-changing experience for the volunteer and an eye-opening experience for the student. It is remarkable to see the light-bulb go off in a student’s eyes and know that they are understanding the importance of the work they are engaged in.

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The 2014 grant award will enable JA to take students from High Point Andrews High School to Haeco to work one-on-one with a Haeco employee throughout the five weeks. The students have to apply for the privilege to participate in this program, just as they would for a job. The students are selected by the CTE coordinator and are required to make-up all work in classes missed for the five days they are away from school. This program addresses all of the skill sets that employers say are missing in today’s workforce. These include  soft-skills like communicating in the workplace, making eye contact during conversations, clear communication, reliability, responsibility and how to dress appropriately. If the student shows real initiative and interest, they can intern with Haeco and attend GTCC’s aviation program their senior year. This career path, encompassing one and half years, ends with a job offer from Haeco that includes benefits. Because of the success of this program, JA now has job shadow partnerships with Ralph Lauren, Lincoln Financial, UPS and Dow Corning.

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This job shadow model can be replicated across the state in an effort to fill the skills-gap plaguing our workforce, and is a very attractive tool to entice new businesses to our area and across North Carolina.