Reality-Based Learning

Job Shadowing

When you job shadow, you step into another person’s shoes for a day, week or longer and see what life is like in that career. This is a good experience for middle, high school, and even college students. Job shadowing is great when trying to discover what career is right for you or helps with narrowing down the possibilities. Doing this can give you great insight and direction when it comes to what job would be most fulfilling.

Finding a job shadowing opportunity can take some work. Companies are usually excited to have a young enthusiastic student in the office to show off what their business is all about.  We encourage you to use the same resources when looking for a job shadowing experience as if you were looking for an internship:

  •    Schools. High school and college career counselors, professors, department heads, bulletin boards, career fairs, student organizations, alumni and fellow students can be your best sources  of  leads.
  •   Your Network.  Tell your friends, family, coworkers, professors, even the mail man about your job shadowing search. The more people you let know about your search the better. Use your social networking sites to blog, tweet, or post about your job shadowing interest.
  •   Local Chamber of Commerce.  Visit with them about local employers who might be interested in a job shadowing experience.
  •    Other organizations and their websites. You may already know companies in your interested career field. This is a chance to get your “foot in the door” with your dream employer. Call the company’s human resources office and share your interest. You may be surprised at how easy it is to job shadow. You can look for ideas on this list of North Dakota’s largest employers.

Before arranging a job shadow experience make sure you get permission from your parents or guardian as the job shadowing may fall during school hours. Have your parent or guardian notify your school you will be out for that time doing a job shadow experience.


Internships are another great tool for students who want to graduate college with an upper hand and enter the working world experienced. While internships are valuable for the applicant, they are also beneficial for the employer. They provide the employer with temporary employees to help during peak work seasons or to help with projects. These interns may even become full time employees after graduation.

Besides a potential job offering, real world experience, and expanding your business contacts, internships have many other benefits including:

  •     College credit. Many internships offer college credit. Just make sure your internship meets the prerequisites for the credits. Check with your school prior to your internship if you have questions.
  •     Money. Many internships are paid; however, be aware some are not.
  •     Experience.  You’ll be refining your skills, learning what you like, what you don’t like, and learning things that aren’t taught in a classroom setting.
  •     Confidence. You will also have the opportunity to strengthen your written and verbal communication skills. Working in the field will present new challenges. Something  that once seemed unfamiliar and strange at the beginning of an internship may be something of ease or even strength by the end of your internship.


Over 29,000 apprenticeship programs in the United States impact 250,000 employers and almost 450,000 apprentices. In North Dakota,  there are 85 registered apprenticeship programs with 1,150  apprentices participating in these programs. Registered Apprenticeship has its benefits no matter who you are: the apprentice or the employer. It is a critical post-secondary education, training and employment option. Registered Apprenticeship plays a big role in developing talented workforce. An apprenticeship is a structured training program combining paid on-the-job training with related technical instruction in a highly skilled occupation. Not all apprenticeships are in the manufacturing industry. Apprenticeships can be in the healthcare, information technology, drivers, and social services industries.

To find out how you can qualify for an apprenticeship, visit the North Dakota’s Registered Apprenticeship program website.

On-the-Job training

On-the-Job Training is training conducted in a work environment designed to enable individuals to learn a bona fide skill and/or qualify for a particular occupation through demonstration and practice. After an on-the-job contract has been negotiated and signed, the employer then hires the participant(s) as a regular employee and begins training according to the training outline agreed upon. The goal of this training is retention of the trainee as a permanent employee. On-the-job training involves individuals at the entry level. Training shall be designed to lead to the maximum development of participant’s potentials and to their economic self-sufficiency.

For more information, contact your nearest Job Service North Dakota office.


  1. Parents | ND Youth Forward - September 30, 2014

    […] For additional internship information visit our Reality Based Learning  section. […]

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