Caitlyn Comeau, a junior at Thornton Academy in Saco and enrolled in the school’s Jobs for Maine’s Graduates program, recently had the opportunity to job shadow state Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco.
Comeau started her day by meeting the senator in the committee room for Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, which Valentino co-chairs. The committee was formed to help close the state’s skills gap by cultivating a better-prepared workforce. Comeau looked on as Valentino presided over a Workforce Committee public hearing.
Valentino said she loved the idea of being shadowed by a high school student.
“That’s the whole basis of the Workforce Committee to make sure we start working with students while they’re still in school. Young people need to start exploring career options long before they’re handed a diploma,” she said.
Valentino believes Jobs for Maine’s Graduates can play an important role in promoting those opportunities. She and the other members of the Workforce Committee have asked the program to help public schools across the state develop career preparation opportunities for students, such as job shadows, internships and business tours.
“It was a great experience,” Comeau said. “The senator and I talked about her career in local and state government, and the fields that I’m interested in. She went to school at Thornton Academy, too, so we found some things we have in common. It was just one day, but I learned a lot – about the senator and what goes on at the State House.”
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates is a nonprofit working with students who face barriers to education. The program provides 5,000 students a year with the skills and experience they need to succeed in high school, post- secondary education and careers.
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