Sitting in a math class was a struggle for Domingo Setien. What did it matter if a calculation was slightly off? If an answer was close enough, why worry? Fast forward several decades and the namesake of Setien and Associates, a Schertz metal fabricator, stood in front of a group of students on February 5 explaining how it wasn’t until he was setting a plate at his first job that it clicked. Being just an inch off in his work now means that intricate metal ladder his team just built might not fit. He, like many students participating in this year’s Job Shadow Day event, benefited from seeing how his education connected with the working world as he started his career. This personal story was just one shared by hosting companies throughout Job Shadow Day 2019.
What It’s About
Job Shadow Day focuses on bringing together local students, schools, and businesses to connect employers to future talent, while opening attendees’ minds to a variety of available careers.
The City of Schertz Economic Development Corporation’s (SEDC) local Job Shadow Day started as part of a larger SA Works initiative in 2015, with 25 local students visiting various City of Schertz departments. Over the years, student participation has grown tremendously thanks to the involvement of Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District (SCUC ISD). Another area of growth has been local business participation; with more businesses stepping up to host groups, students can stay in the community to explore their opportunities. This year, 272 students from Samuel Clemens and Byron P. Steele III high schools visited 17 different employers in Schertz and Cibolo, learning about careers ranging from manufacturing and supply chain management to agriculture and public service.
As with any large event, Job Shadow Day starts with planning. Six months out, the SEDC works closely with partners such as the school district to recruit company participants. The district then matches students with host businesses based on their industry interest. Student groups range in size from 10 to 40 students and are accompanied on the day-of by SCUC ISD staff during their visit.
- Students | ‘I never knew this career/industry existed’ | Students are introduced to potential careers, interests, and future job connections.
- Companies | ‘I never knew this business existed’ | Businesses gains the opportunity to expose students to career opportunities at their company and within their industry.
- School District | ‘Without this event, students wouldn’t have explored this industry’ | Educators can see, firsthand, skills needed within industry and integrate new ideas into curriculums.
Highlights from 2019
SEDC staff accompanied groups during their Job Shadow Day experience, taking notes along the way. Here are summaries from just four of the 17 company visits.
Setien and Associates – From their metal fabrication shop to central office, students explored the variety of careers needed to keep the company moving. Engineers, Checkers, and Detailers answered questions and shared advice on useful programs to learn. From there, the group got hands-on, testing the company’s survey equipment and checking out their transportation fleet. Students ended their visit by exploring the fabrication shop floor. Students weren’t the only ones to come away impressed at the sheer scope of work done at the company. One teacher noted that, although he lived right down the road for a good part of his life, he’d never known the extent of Setien’s work. “I thought their operation was limited to Schertz. But the fact they have a broader footprint across the country and an international contract workforce is incredible.”
Schertz Police Department – The functioning of a police department isn’t just about patrolling. Officer Lafitte of the Schertz’ Special Projects Unit used the experience to show students that they can be involved in law enforcement without necessarily being a police officer. Accompanied by their forensic science teacher, this group of students gained a greater understanding of the tools that support law enforcement, both in the office and in the field. Students explored diverse careers ranging from Investigations and Dispatch to Evidence Tech and, of course, Patrol Officer.
Joint Base San Antonio Randolph – Led by Dr. Robert Hamm, Deputy Director of the base’s 12th Maintenance Group (MXG), 40 students from Samuel Clemens and John Jay High School explored one of the region’s largest employers. Responsible for the 12th Flying Wing’s aircraft and support equipment, the MXG is staffed by skilled civilian employees rather than enlisted personnel. Students toured the hangers, filled with the T-6, T-38, and T-1 trainers that circle over Schertz every day. Maintenance specialists explained their work, encouraging students to take advantage of Alamo Academies’ Aerospace Academy. The technicians – several of whom are Samuel Clemens graduates – highlighted the importance of their job and how seriously they take their work. “Protecting the safety of the pilots is vital,” stated one technician who lives in the area. “Equally important is watching out for the community, because this equipment flies over our homes every day. I’d hate to be the one responsible if a tool or part fell off.”
Mortellaro’s Nursery – Mortellaro’s has been a staple of the community for decades. Opened in 1956 as a backyard nursery on the southside of San Antonio, this family-owned business eventually moved to Schertz after purchasing 70 acres in the 1970’s. James Harden Jr., Vice-President, and Lydia Garcia, HR and Safety Coordinator, greeted students, all of whom are in Samuel Clemens’ Agriculture and Horticulture class. Broken into small groups, students visited various stations learned and practicing soil fertilization, seeding, propagation, trimming, and automated potting. Gathered at the employees’ cabin at the end of the event, the smiling and dirt-streaked students came away with a stronger understanding of the skills needed to run or work in a field-grown operation. Making this tour particularly special is that Mortellaro’s is wholesale and not open to the public. The company’s willingness to provide such a rare behind-the-scenes – and interactive – event made a lasting impact on the students.
Thank You and Sign Up for Next Year!
The SEDC would like to extend a special thank you to each participating company, SCUC ISD, and the City of Cibolo Economic Development Corporation for helping make this year’s Job Shadow Day a success. Amy Massey, SCUC ISD’s Career and Technical Education Coordinator says it best: “We are grateful to all the local companies that open their doors. Your willingness to welcome our students is incredible. This day has such an impact on students’ lives and could be the start of their new career path.”
Participating companies this year include: Amazon, Caterpillar, Cibolo Creek Municipal Authority, City of Cibolo, City of Schertz Police Department, FedEx, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, HEB Grocery, Liberty Oil Field Service, Lowes, Maverick Door & Millwork, Mortellaro’s Nursery, Randolph Airforce Base, Schertz Animal Hospital, Schertz Bank & Trust, Setien & Associates, and the Schertz YMCA.
If your company is interested in hosting students for next year’s Job Shadow Day, contact us or reach out to SCUC ISD’s Career and Technical Education Department at (210) 945-6086.