JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Feb. 2, 2017) Many San Antonio high school students missed classes Feb. 2, but they were still gaining real-world knowledge from mentors at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command here as well as more than 100 employers across the city.

Soldiers and Army civilians at the MICC hosted 21 students from Sam Houston High School from the San Antonio Independent School District as part of the San Antonio Job Shadow Day.

The MICC joined more than 100 area businesses to mentor nearly 3,000 San Antonio students to help shape San Antonio's future workforce. Sam Houston High School students teamed with nine MICC mentors to explore career paths in contracting, legal, operations and others. Job Shadow Day is sponsored by SA Works and partnered with Junior Achievement to allow a half-day of experience-based learning while mentors explained how to join and succeed in the workforce.

As part of Job Shadow Day, students visited mentors' work areas, engaged in discussions on professionalism and ethics, and learned interview skills. One of the mentors was Col. Tonie Jackson, the MICC chief of staff. Sam Houston High School students came to learn about job skills, but made an impression on Jackson.

"(Sam Houston High School students) restored hope in me because you all are so intelligent and insightful," the colonel said. "When I retire from the Army, I'd like to become a high school teacher in Mississippi, and (Sam Houston High School students) showed me that our next generation is a dynamic and powerful force."

Led by Ernest Guerrero, a Sam Houston High School teacher, the students had an interactive day with mentors and in group discussions.

"The Job Shadow Day gave our students valuable hands-on experience," Guerrero said. "Hearing this information directly from professionals in the workforce definitely has a meaningful impact on the students, and this is something we cannot provide in the classroom."

Cesar Hernandez, a Sam Houston High School student, said he learned it is important to have a plan, and set goals so you can achieve them when you join the workforce. "My mentor gave me good advice, like to write things down so they are more likely to happen."

Another MICC mentor, Lt. Col. Gwen Devera-Waden, said Job Shadow Day is an investment in our future. "As a leader and adult, I used Job Shadow Day to give students the tools to succeed and taught them how I did things so they are prepared for their future. We need to prepare our youth, because they are America's future leaders."

Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, the MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, the command executed more than 32,000 contract actions valued at more than $4.6 billion across the Army, including $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command also managed more than 585,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $741 million.