The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau in partnership with the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) sponsored the 13th annual Business Experience Day October 26. The day provided the opportunity for interested high school juniors and seniors to job shadow for a morning to learn about the business world through firsthand observation.
“I can see that there are different ways that people interact depending on the particular business environment,” says Santa Clara High School senior Evan Gothelf just a few hours into job shadowing at X C.E.O., Inc., a research, development, and consulting firm. “It’s different than in school. For example, business manners. Instead of fist bumps and head nods, it’s handshakes and smiles.”
Gothelf’s morning included conversations with company associates and CEO Curtis J. Crawford. Public Sector Program Director Alice Zhang initiated the company’s participation in Business Experience Day.
“We deeply believe in leadership mentoring, and this is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the Santa Clara Community. It’s what X C.E.O. is all about—leadership development,” says Zhang. “It’s a great event for students to understand what the business community is like—how the real world works. It’s a condensed day, not hands-on but an introduction, and students can list it on their resume.”
“I’m thankful to have this opportunity,” says Gothelf. “I got to visit a business I want to go into life doing. I want to help businesses be better. I didn’t think such a place would be so close to home.”
Santa Clara High School senior Connor James’s desire to be a firefighter was ignited back in his Milliken Elementary School days when the fire department made a safety presentation at the school, roaring up in a bright red fire engine polished to reflect like a mirror. So James knew exactly where he wanted to visit on Business Experience Day.
James shadowed firefighters at Santa Clara Fire Department’s Station #1 on Benton, which gets 1,800 emergency calls a year. James met Fire Chief Bill Kelly and observed the fire inspection of a new business.
“Being a firefighter is my goal in life; it’s a way for me to impact the community and make someone’s life better,” says James. “It’s been fun today—learning what firefighters do and about the equipment on the rigs.”
“We’re always excited to have young people have an interest in the fire service. We emphasize that they continue their education,” says driver/engineer Craig McFarlane.
Twenty-five students from New Valley, Santa Clara, Wilcox, and Wilson High Schools participated in Business Experience Day, which ended with a luncheon at KeyPoint Credit Union. At the lunch, Larry Kubo, managing partner of 1st Wave Marketing Group, spoke on the topic “Starting Up Your Career(s).”
Kubo’s insights: Success is a journey, and the road to success is seldom straight. Ordinary people and ideas can achieve remarkable success. Know your stuff and value people. Trust yourself.
Twenty-two Santa Clara businesses hosted students: ActionCOACH; American Airlines; Biltmore Hotel & Suites Silicon Valley; City of Santa Clara City Manager’s Office, fire and police departments; Entrees Unlimited; Hilton Hotel; Intel; Kaiser Permanente; KeyPoint Credit Union; Marvell Semiconductor; Pizza Party; San Francisco 49ers; Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau; SCUSD; Santa Clara Valley Water District; Swinerton Builders; The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc.; The UPS Store #4636; UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley; and X CEO, Inc.