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Job Shadowing as a Mechanism for College and Career Readiness

English, Neil (2018) Job Shadowing as a Mechanism for College and Career Readiness. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Schools currently face problems in preparing students for their post-secondary pursuits. The current job market remains unsaturated and almost half of all students that attend college end up dropping out. Almost a third of the students that do graduate end up working in a field unrelated to their course of study and college costs and debt are on the rise. To combat these issues, many
schools require students to participate in job shadowing programs in hopes of providing authentic work experiences without the deleterious effects of adolescent work.

The purpose of this research is to better determine whether the job shadowing program at Mountainside Junior-Senior High School provides students with a more acute awareness of career decision making self-efficacy, knowledge of career entry requirements, and ideal job
characteristics. More broadly, however, the hope is to gain insight as to whether job shadowing experiences do what many think they do; and that is, to arm high school students with a better ability to make career-related decisions upon matriculating to their post-secondary educational and job related pursuits.

A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) with two conditions on a volunteer sample of 30 ninth-grade students at Mountainside Junior-Senior High School was conducted. The treatment consisted of a one-day job shadowing experience of the students’ (and families’) choice; wherein the student closely observed the work of an experienced employee for approximately three to seven hours. In the treatment group, job shadow placements included working in an auto body shop, observing a symphony orchestra flutist, working in a law firm, and observing a hospital
nurse, amongst others. The treatment group was also administered an hour-long curriculum intervention designed to enhance college and career readiness and to prepare students for their job shadow placements.

Although no statistically significant differences in outcomes between the treatment and control groups were found, students were qualitatively appraised as developing a more acute awareness of the job preparation necessary to acquire a job. Additionally, many students either found the experience “very useful” or “extremely useless.” These extremes are worthy of further consideration and will be discussed in more detail. Overall, this research provides much needed insight concerning job shadowing and informs current practices at Mountainside Junior-Senior High School and countless other high schools across Pennsylvania and the United States.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
English, Neilnee9@pitt.edunee90000-0001-5139-7704
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKelly,
Committee MemberKerr, Mary
Committee MemberCorrenti, Rrcorrent@pitt.eduRCORRENT
Date: 24 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 June 2018
Approval Date: 24 September 2018
Submission Date: 8 August 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 123
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Job Shadowing College and Career Readiness Career Decision Making Self Efficacy Adolescent Work Career Shadow
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2018 14:22
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2018 14:22


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