Santa Cruz County job shadowing
November 2019

Medical Technician Students Tour Santa Cruz County 911 Center

Career Pathways: November 2019

By Mary Gaukel Forster

Workplace tours can be powerful early career awareness activities for students, helping them learn not only about specific careers but about their own preferences and values.   Nowadays tours can be virtual or in-person, increasing the opportunities to get an inside look at careers and workplaces.

Santa Cruz County job shadowing

We are fortunate to have many local and digital opportunities in Santa Cruz County and I am sharing a sampling to get you started.

Parents can help provide these experiences and enrich them by asking open-ended questions.  When asking these questions you are helping your child to think about the work being accomplished, the culture of the workplace, and the physical setting.   We all know that most teens and pre-teens don’t like to be “told or lectured” especially not in front of others. I recommend that the questions below can be asked, at various times,  after the workplace visit. Three teenagers of my own helped me learn not to be too obvious or heavy handed, “Oh, mom you are not my teacher.” 

Have fun and explore!

Adobe Animal Hospital (Veterinarian) Virtual and in person tours

Annie Glass (Arts/Manufacturing/Design):  Handcrafted Dinnerware and Home Decor.  Studio tours are FREE and given Thursday – Sunday at 1:30 pm. Walk-ins are welcome for our 1:30 pm tour.

Canepa Auto Museum (Manufacturing, Design, Transportation)  In-person tours

Central Fire District (Fire Science, Emergency Services) in-person tours

Google-  (Computer Information Systems) Virtual tour of a very unique workplace

Live Earth Farms (Agriculture, Ag Technology)

Santa Clara Crime Crime Laboratory (Forensics) The Crime Laboratory provides “virtual tours” each month, consisting of a 2-hour presentation on the forensic work performed in the laboratory. This presentation “virtually walks through” all the different areas of the Crime Laboratory via photographs and case examples. However, it does not include actually touring the facility itself due to the sensitivity of our work and the potential for contamination.  Anyone interested in attending a presentation or organizing a group to attend should contact Criminalist Cordelia Willis at [email protected] with the subject: Crime Lab tour

Santa Cruz Bikes (Transportation, Manufacturing, Design)

Santa Cruz Guitars (Entertainment, Manufacturing, Design)

Career questions have been a part of Mary’s life since she was first asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She began teaching elementary school, had her own children, taught in middle school and high school, became a high school principal, finally a grandparent, and currently the executive director for the non-profit organization, Your Future Is Our Business.  Your Future Is Our Business partners with schools to link students to career explorations. Reach Mary at [email protected]

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