From Shadow Day to Co-Workers

Encouraged or discouraged.

Job shadowing for a high school senior will go either of those two ways.  Rarely in between.  Through my nearly three decades as a TV broadcaster, I’ve had job shadows from local high schools and always enjoyed meeting the wide-eyed teenagers as they walk through a TV station for the first time.  I’ve compared it to seeing Oz behind the curtain, revealing some of the tricks of the trade.  Eventually they would make it to the weather department where the real TV magic is made.

That’s where I met Donelson Christian Academy senior Lane Faulkner in 1999.  Or so she told me.  Nothing personal.  It’s just that a lot of shadows have cast themselves through my stops in broadcasting.

“I vividly remember chatting with you over at the sports desk,” Lane recalled near the end of our first meeting a few weeks ago.  “We got shushed by the anchors and crew for talking during the broadcast!”

Ah.  That sounds like me.  Yep, I have no doubt that happened.  It actually happened more than a few times with shadows and here’s why.  When I was a young buck trying to break into the TV business I recall how the “heads” (slang for on-air anchors) treated me when I interned.  A few actually took time to make small talk with me.  Most didn’t.  I promised myself that if I ever actually made it in the biz I would treat shadows and interns like I wanted to be treated.  It really wasn’t that hard and actually part of your responsibility as a face of the station.  I suspect Lisa Patton (who Lane was shadowing) was doing the weather off to the side of the desk and we were kibitzing.  And then were busted for talking too loud.

Fast-forward 18 years and Lane, a former high school teacher turned College Coach, is working with JTG to increase its social media footprint.  This redesigned website is part of that effort.  Her friend, renaissance man Rob Youngblood, did the nuts and bolts, exceeding all expectations.  After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Lane taught high school English for nine years and then went off on her own.  When she heard of JTG from a mutual friend of ours, former TV account executive Pam Cherry, Pam thought Lane should know more and it, leading to the words you are reading right now.

Monday Night Live with Jeff Fisher (circa 2004?)

(A quick word about Pam.  We go back to our News-2 days some 15 years ago, specifically “Monday Night Live with Jeff Fisher.”  The show was broadcast in the middle of Opry Mills Shopping Complex.  Account executives would host clients to fill up the live audience and Pam showed with a smile and enthusiasm every show knowing her Mondays were going to be 13-hour days.  I always appreciated her help in making sure things went smoothly but mostly her attitude and friendship).

So what attracted Lane to taking on the JTG social media project?

“My background and expertise in education offer me a unique appreciation for JTG’s mission and goal: to prepare every student for his or her next stage in life, whether that is continuing their education or transitioning into the work force.”

Among the most effective ways that businesses all across Tennessee can engage the next generation workforce is to have shadow days and/or internships.  It cuts to the chase whether a young person wants to pursue that field or another.  After Lane’s shadow day at News-2, she tacked toward education and now college coaching.  JTG is now better for it.

If you have a teenager, what are some of the challenges you’re facing in getting your child to prepare for life after high school?  What were your challenges?



By |2017-02-11T15:56:29+00:00February 11th, 2017|Professional Relationships|0 Comments

About the Author:

Call it John Dwyer 2.0 After 29 years as a TV Broadcaster, Dwyer is President & CEO of Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG). JTG, an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit organization dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow through toward post-secondary education and/or job opportunities. Associated with JAG since 1981, JTG consistently obtains a graduation rate above 90-percent with a full-time job rate at nearly 70-percent. The most vulnerable, socioeconomically challenged young men and women, graduate with self-esteem with the realization and skill set to achieve success after high school. Does it get much better than that? Dwyer, is a resident of the Nashville area since 1996. He was sports director and/or a news anchor at TV stations in Nashville, Jacksonville, Florida; Ft. Myers, FL and his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. He is a 10-time Mid-South Region Emmy Award winner, along with winning numerous other awards. He is also a former Heisman Trophy voter. John is a 1985 graduate of Butler University, where he majored in Radio/TV while minoring in journalism. An avid running (or “plodder” as he likes to call himself), Dwyer runs in Nashville’s annual marathon. (Current tally: 7 Full, 10 Half). He accomplished a goal, once thought out of reach, be qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon in 2009. Married to Lynley, Dwyer resides in East Nashville with his wife and dog Lola. Dwyer served on the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee board from 2006-2012, and was board chairman for three years.

Leave A Comment

JTG on the Frontlines for Equality

Supporting and Empowering our Communities of Color

COVID-19 Update

JAG and JTG Statement in Response to COVID-19

 As we are all feeling, COVID-19 has shifted how the world operates in a way that is unprecedented for our generation, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG), one of 39 JAG state affiliates, are no exception. The impact of the coronavirus and the immediate danger it presents has closed our education system, directly affecting students and their families. This is especially detrimental to JTG students, who often look to their JTG Specialists and classmates for steadiness and security in their lives.

We also recognize that our students and their families are disproportionately affected by the closure of restaurants, stores, bars, and other service-industry places of work. These jobs often provide the entry-level opportunities our students need to enter the workforce. A difficult environment is likely to continue for some time, so we are in the process to reposition our training and support to make the best case for our JTG students to be considered for employment.

At a time when we must social distance ourselves to protect each other, the thousands of JTG students we serve need us more than ever.  We are responding to and encouraged by the requests from many JTG Specialists to access online learning modules and platforms provided by JAG educational partners like the Skills to Succeed Academy, EverFi, and Tallo. We are excited to see the interest in the JAG Genius and the use of virtual connectivity and the online sense of community – something we all need in these times.

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG) recognize we need to modify the way we provide support and deliver competencies to our students during this time of uncertainty. In response to the way business and education are adapting (in real time) to COVID-19,  JAG National is establishing new protocols and processes to ensure full, virtual engagement with our young people to ensure they have the competencies they need to meet the very competitive job market ahead. That is why JAG is providing the immediate recommendations below that are of highest priority, which impact the day-to-day lives of our students and Specialists. Like our world right now, please know that these are in real-time and subject to change.


Moving forward, we will have ongoing recommendations that will be built into new practices that will serve as both short- and long-term solutions to continue JAG’s data-driven model. This will help us remain accountable to our students, our partners, funders, and each other.