GCPS, Economic Development & Chamber Partner to Launch Virtual Job Shadow:

The Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS), Department of Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of VirtualJobShadow.com, a new innovative online platform to be used by the teachers and students of both Northern and Southern High Schools. VirtualJobShadow.com will launch in both schools in January and is sponsored by Garrett County Economic Development.

The platform allows students to learn about hundreds of careers by viewing videos of people in those jobs. They can learn everything about a career from what a typical day is like, to education/training needed, to job pay, to future trends for that career and related careers. Students can also find out if there are internships, apprenticeships or jobs available in the career in our area.

Strivven Media, the creator of VirtualJobShadow.com, says the program provides students with hundreds of inspiring day-in-the-life videos that portray the realities of the 21st century workplace. Let your students learn first-hand from professionals about the skills, knowledge, and character they need to be successful.

VirtualJobShadow.com includes:

  • Massive video library covering thousands of careers
  • Career & Interest Assessments
  • Resume Builder
  • Postsecondary Plan
  • Goal Setting
  • Local Links
  • Access to Area Jobs, Internships & Apprenticeships
  • Lesson Builder – Assignments (Teachers)
  • Curriculum & Lesson Plans (Teachers)

“The platform, and especially the videos, give our students insights into careers that they may not even be aware exist. It’s job shadowing right from your desk with additional tools to take next steps if you find a career of interest,” said Nicole Christian, Chamber President & CEO. “The Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force discovered the platform through another chamber and realized this would be so beneficial to Garrett County students who might not otherwise have job shadowing opportunities.”

Paul Edwards, Director of Secondary Education for Garrett County Public Schools agreed and decided that it would be a fabulous tool for teachers as well as our students. “The lesson planning component of the platform will allow teachers to give students assignments that can help them the students connect what they are learning in the classroom with real-life applicability. And the program is very simple for our teachers to implement and use in their classes.”

Every student in each high school will have a unique login and password for the program to maintain their same profile throughout high school. The students can mark careers that they like and have a history of the information they researched. They can continually update their goals, plans and resume so that they better prepared to for the next phase of their life after high school.

“I think our students and teachers are both going to enjoy using this program. It’s entertaining and educational, and we’re the only school system in Maryland offering it to our students,” said Edwards. “We continue to provide innovative educational opportunities here in Garrett County and the State is starting to take notice.”

The administration of the program includes reports to identify careers with the highest student interest and students that assess as a good match for certain careers. Potentially, the program could be used in the future to help match students with prospective employers that may be considering moving to Garrett County or for economic development to work with the school system to focus on certain skillsets that match job openings in the community.

“Companies locate where they have access to an available workforce and the VirtualJobShadow platform could help us in our economic development recruitment efforts by providing data to a prospect that shows an inclination by students towards jobs offered by the prospect,” said Mike Hough, Director of Economic Development. “We could also utilize the platform to work directly with the schools on assignments for the students to learn about specific careers based on jobs available in our community. It would open up a whole new connection between businesses, teachers and students.”

“The Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force has been working for the past three years to address the workforce shortage in Garrett County and also looking for ways to encourage our young people to stay. Helping them learn about some of the amazing career opportunities available right here in Garrett County could have as significant impact,” said Christian. “We are so pleased that through our partnership with GCPS and Economic Development, we are implementing another new initiative to combat the ongoing challenges of our young people leave and a population that’s aging.

“We’re really excited to partner with the Chamber and the schools to offer this innovative program,” said Mike Hough. “Economic Development is more than just recruiting businesses or helping with expansions. It’s ensuring that we have the right environment that truly nurtures business growth and development.”

“This is a great new tool for our students,” said Laura Fike, Executive Director of Garrett Mentors and chair of the Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force. “Helping connect students with career opportunities while they are in high school could be transformative for the young people in our community.”

The Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force has also partnered with GCPS to implement the Work Ethic Diploma program and partnered with Garrett College to host a welcome reception and familiarization tours of the County for new Garrett College students. The Task Force is also working on workforce housing shortages and transportation issues. More information on the Workforce Development Task Force and their initiatives can be found on the Chamber’s website at https://www.visitdeepcreek.com/economic-and-workforce-development or by contacting Holly Lane, Project Coordinator for the Chamber, at (301) 387-6171 or holly@garrettchamber.com.