May 24, 2018
There’s nothing like hands-on experience to get students excited about careers in STEM.
That’s the reasoning behind IT United’s annual job shadows with local organizations. IT United members are technology professionals who have a desire to make difference in their community through contributions, advocacy, and volunteerism with Untied Way.
Each year, IT United connects students from Milwaukee Public Schools with area corporations to get firsthand experience with careers in STEM fields.
GE Healthcare has been a longtime host of annual IT United job shadows. This year, the group was made up of sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Riverside University High School. Dave Simono, senior technical project manager at GE Digital supporting GE Healthcare, worked closely with the students on this day.
“It was terrific,” said Dave. “It is such a great opportunity to expose students to experiences that occur at local corporations, to let them know what goes on behind the scenes.”
GE Healthcare team members Ayana Edmonds and Linsey Zwiefelhofer led the students through a variety of activities to help students explore life in the workplace and how to turn a great idea into a reality.
“PIE means ‘performance, image, exposure,’” said David. “It’s a way of approaching and improving your personal performance in the workplace.” Students learned about PIE, then wrote down some characteristics of themselves, discussed in groups, and developed goals to enhance their personal PIE before graduation.
Students then learned about another GE Healthcare theory: “Agile Methodology,” which is normally applied to software development, but can be used to turn any great idea into a reality. The students were given a challenge close to the heart of GE Healthcare’s mission – how to deliver human organs (represented by marbles in this activity) from one place to another safely and quickly. Students were given parts and had to work together to build a cart with a motor.
During the activity “their teacher’s jaw dropped,” remembered David. “She felt the communication going on between the teams was the best she had seen with the group.”
“You could tell the students were invested,” said David. “They even gave us ideas for how we could improve the project for the next group of students.”
“MPS is so grateful for the partnership with IT United that allows our students with an interest in computer sciences to interact with and visit professionals working in the field,” said Heather Aschoff, a member of the College & Career Readiness Department at Milwaukee Public Schools. “Students are thinking about their futures and beginning to make decisions about what they would like to do as adults and having the IT United Job Shadows as a part of their high school experience will certainly influence those choices.”
For GE Healthcare, the reason they choose to host a job shadow year-after-year is simple: “If students perceive a barrier to following their career dream, we want to remove it,” said David. “We want them to feel like they have a future, that they can work for a company in Milwaukee and do great things.”
Learn more about IT United and how your company can host local students for a job shadow experience.