NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School started a pilot program this year to give students an authentic taste of what life is like in the working world.
The ELO (Extra Learning Opportunities) program is a job shadowing program during which students worked after school at a business in a career field they are interested in potentially pursuing. The program started in late February and ends this month.
Naugatuck High Principal Janice Saam said the pilot program was started with three students. She said the program offers the students a perspective they can’t get in the classroom.
“I think it’s exciting that this is real world stuff. It’s authentic, and what life is going to be like after high school. And that is one of our biggest challenges here at the high school, is to get students ready for after high school.” Saam said.
School officials started discussing establishing the program before the holidays. They wanted to give the students more of a real-life experience with having a job. Officials reached out to Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese, who coordinated with the business community to place students in businesses in the borough.
Saam said the program helps to give students a glimpse into a career and provides them a better idea on whether that career may be what they want to do in life.
“My goals with this are the excellence of a student exploring a career they think they might want to do in the future. So, it gives them the option between it actually being what they want, or it not being what they think it was” Saam said.
Senior Margaret Sam, 17, has been working in a lawyer’s office through the program. She spends her time at the office making copies and filing paperwork, among other duties.
Sam said she’s interested in pursuing a career in the law field and the program has helped her a lot.
“It helped me realize that being a lawyer isn’t only cases, it is organizing and it gave me a clear picture of what I will be doing in the future,” Sam said. “I will want to go to college and see if they have anymore opportunities for me there, such as working at a lawyer’s office.”
Carol Ann Gladstone is a Naugatuck High School student who worked at the Citizen’s News as part of the Extra Learning Opportunities program.