FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Area students got a chance to look at some of the career possibilities open to them Feb. 19 at the Fort McPherson Job Shadow Day.

The event, which took place at The Commons at Fort McPherson, allowed 287 students from six Atlanta-area high schools and one Atlanta-area middle school to interact with professionals from several area organizations.

U.S. Army garrison organizations participating included Army Community Service, the Child Development Center, Community Outreach, the Directorate of Emergency Service, the Directorate of Information Management, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, the Wellness Center and the Public Affairs Office.

Also participating were the Lawrence Joel Army Dental Clinic; the Hapeville Police Department; and global engineering, construction and services company Kellogg Brown and Root, which supports most of the military overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The goal of Job Shadow Day is to help students make the critical link between education and success on the job, introduce students to careers in the workplace and connect learning and earning," said Camellia Jefferson, garrison school liaison officer.
For the students, it was a chance to re-evaluate their career interests and consider options they may never have thought of.

Dexter Barnes, a senior at South Atlanta High School, said he was interested in engineering, but was unsure if studying that field would prevent him from enjoying other interests, such as fixing things and traveling. After listening to the presentation by KBR, he said he realized he could continue to pursue his career desire without sacrificing his other interests.

For 10th grader Mena Johnson, also from South Atlanta High School, the day showed her a totally different possibility.

"I wanted to do obstetrics, gynecology," she said, explaining her inspiration stemmed from time spent following a midwife. Johnson said being introduced to videography at the event interested her and got her thinking of a future in that profession.

Jefferson attributed much of the learning to the professionalism and expertise of the representatives of the organizations participating.

"They mixed and mingled with the kids, explained their jobs and were willing to listen and answer questions," she said.

Job Shadow Day is one of many programs made possible by the partnership agreement between Fort McPherson and the local communities to help enhance and improve quality of life for residents in both areas. Other programs include career fairs and school mentoring.

"We're helping introduce students to careers and providing them a comprehensive view of options available," Jefferson said. "The kids had a wonderful time."