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Shadowing is a short-term educational experience that introduces an individual student to a particular job or career by pairing the student with an employee of a business, industry or agency. By following or "shadowing" the employee, the student becomes familiar with the duties associated with that occupation, the physical setting of the occupation, and the compatibility of the occupation with his or her own career goals.


Shadowing develops an awareness of the educational and technical skills required for entry and advancement in a specific occupation. The student becomes familiar with the work-site environment and the job-related characteristics of the specific job or career. Shadowing provides students the opportunity to discuss areas of interest or concern with the employee in the "real world" occupation they are shadowing. By providing a relevant experience outside the classroom, employers are able to contribute to the education of youth and help prepare students for future career opportunities.


  1. Identify the goals and policies of the shadowing program.
    • Goals or objectives for the shadowing program
    • Policies or guidelines to be followed

  2. Develop selection criteria for both students and employers.
    • Criteria for participating students
    • Criteria for participating employers

  3. Develop application forms for interested students and employers.
    • Student application
    • Employer application

  4. Develop an evaluation form to monitor the success of the program.
    • Completed by both students and employers
    • Identifies strengths and weaknesses of the program

  5. Develop a parental permission form to have signed by parents.

  6. Develop awareness activities for students, parents, and employers.
    • School announcements and newspapers
    • Community news media, flyers, etc.

  7. Select instructional staff to work with the shadowing program.
  8. Survey employers to locate shadowing sites.
    • Determine which employers are interested.
    • Select sites which will provide a good learning experience.

  9. Recruit and select individual students to participate in the program.
    • Determine which students are interested.
    • Select students who will benefit most from the program.

  10. Organize an orientation session for students, faculty and employers.
    • Discuss the goals, objectives, policies and guidelines
    • Explain the various roles and responsibilities

  11. Identify where and when the shadowing will take place for each student.

  12. Determine transportation needs and how they will be provided.

  13. Review safety precautions to be followed during the experience.

  14. Train students as to expectations during the shadowing experience.
    • Dress code
    • Promptness
    • Behavior
    • Other expectations

  15. Design certificates and/or notes of appreciation for employers.

  16. Determine method of rewarding students for successful completion of the shadowing experience.


Students@Work is an initiative of First Gentleman Robert Eaves in partnership with the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. The goal is to challenge North Carolina businesses to offer job shadowing opportunities to middle school students in their community.


Job Shadowing Processes with Students
Adapted from the Roosevelt Renaissance 2000 Project.

Shadowing Site Proposal
Adopted from Henderson County Schools, North Carolina.
(doc, 31kb)

Parent-Child Day: Release Form
Adopted from West Iredell High School, Iredell County Schools, North Carolina.
(doc, 31kb)

Confirmation Letter Sent to Business for Agreeing to Host Student
Adopted from the Job Ready Work-Based Learning Guide.
(doc, 25kb)

Postshadowing Report
Shared by the Job Ready Work-Based Learning Guide.
(doc, 28kb)

Business/Industry Field Trip
Cooperative Education
Entrepreneurial Experiences
Job Shadowing
School-Based Enterprise
Service Learning