50 High Schoolers from An Achievable Dream get hands-on experience with local companies
Newport News, VA – An Achievable Dream (AAD) launched its inaugural “Job Shadow Day” on February 13, partnering with 15 local companies to provide a one-day job shadowing experience to the high school’s Junior class. Fifty students chose a company to visit based on their career aspirations. Corporate partners for the day were 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union, C.A. Barrs, Capital Group, Chick-fil-A Yoder Plaza & Victory Blvd., Hercules Fence, Cox, Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson, Kaufman & Canoles, Newport News Shipbuilding, State Farm, STIHL, Thomas Nelson Community College, TowneBank, Virinia Media, and W.M. Jordan. Priority Automotive also scheduled a special job shadow day for students on a later date.
“This was a really inspiring experience,” shared Ashley, a junior, who spent the day at Kaufman & Canoles. “I learned about the legal profession and met attorneys who inspired me to pursue a career that will allow me to help people and make a difference.”
Guided by the belief that all children can learn and succeed given the tools and opportunity, AAD levels the playing field for students who face a variety of social-risk factors, preparing them for success in school, college, and career. AAD operates in 5 schools in partnership with local school districts: Newport News Public Schools, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and Henrico County Public Schools. The K–12 AAD program in Newport News maintains a 100% on-time graduation rate, and of graduates, 90-95% attend college or trade school, while 5-10% join the military or enter the workforce. The AAD program in Virginia Beach (K–6) and Henrico County (K–3) will expand by a grade level per year until they reach K–12.
During Wednesday’s event, students received personalized tours of facilities and had the opportunity to meet company executives and team members, ask questions, and learn from industry leaders. From banking procedures to restaurant marketing, construction to higher educations, the teens gained valuable, real-world experience at some of the region’s top corporations.
“The opportunity and exposure this experience provides for our students is enormous,” said Pervis Blake, Executive Director at An Achievable Dream. “The business community rallied to support these young leaders of tomorrow in an amazing way. It is local partners like these who help open a world of possibility for our students and inspire them to become great business and community leaders.”
Among the corporate participants was TowneBank which hosted four students for the day. Brian Skinner, Chief Banking Officer, TowneBank, shared, “Our partnership with An Achievable Dream goes back many years and we are proud to support the work they are doing to equip future leaders. There is nothing we love more than providing opportunities for these young people to learn about various careers and helping to further the impact An Achievable Dream has in our community and in the lives of students and families.”
Founded in Newport News in 1992 by businessman Walter Segaloff, partnerships with the local business community have always been a core tenet of the program. At the middle and high school level, the components of AAD’s unique Social, Academic, and Moral Education (SAME®) elementary curriculum are integrated into a comprehensive workforce-development program, “What It Takes,” designed to help students master the habits, traits, and behaviors they will need to succeed in employment. The focus on workforce communication, social skills, conflict resolution, and character continues, with emphasis on workforce ethics, personal responsibility, and professional behavior.