Youths on careers: great expectations

Last Friday, more than a million youths across the country shadowed professionals - including TV journalists, teachers, nurses, and politicians - in the fifth annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day, a kickoff to a year-long program that pairs students with workplace mentors.

Organizers hope the program will promote realistic ideas about the workplace. A recent survey conducted by Junior Achievement, a member of the Job Shadow Coalition, indicated middle- and high-school students often have fairly lofty views of their career futures.

Among the poll's findings:

• Nearly two-thirds of boys believe they will make at least $1 million a year by age 40, while one-third of girls hold that belief.

• The most popular jobs: doctor (9.7 percent), businessperson (8.9 percent), athlete (7.5 percent), teacher (6.6 percent), and entertainer (6.1 percent).

• More than 75 percent of students do not want to follow in their parents' career paths, though 51 percent say they are most likely to turn to their parents for information about careers.

• More than 75 percent of kids believe they will need at least a college degree to get their ideal job; 31 percent say it'll take a graduate degree.

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