If you are a business owner, senior leader, or have any influence in your workplace, develop a partnership with a local school district with a high percentage of “free and reduced-lunch” students. Explain to the school administrator your current and future workforce needs and the skills that will be required. Start by offering job shadowing opportunities for high school students. When a student comes in, make an effort to form a personal connection. This is the key to successful job shadowing and where most efforts fail. Share your story, especially the hard things you have had to overcome on your journey to success. Learn about the student’s story. What does she think she does well? What makes her proud? What does a happy future look like to her? What could get in the way of that? Have the school district prep the students before they come to you so they are prepared and excited to share this information with you. Just giving the students practice is having these conversations with a “stranger” will be extremely beneficial. Show the student around your workplace.Introduce her to your co-workers and have them explain their jobs. Explain how each employee must bring value that contributes to the goals and mission of the company. Give the student your business card and encourage her to email you afterwards because you would like to stay in touch, get to know her more and maybe become a job reference for her. Do this for 4-5 students this upcoming school year. It doesn’t have to be resource-intensive for your company and will be a morale-booster for your staff. It will also begin giving you valuable insight. School districts with Career Tech programs (which most have) are a great place to begin building these partnerships.This is a first step. Stay tuned for more. Feel free to share. The photo with this post shows Get Connected students on a job shadow visit with their mentor at Diebold-Nixdorf, Inc.