First Generation Shadow Program 

Georgia Tech’s Career Center, in partnership with the Office of First-Generation Initiatives, is launching the First-Generation Shadow Program in Spring 2023, thanks to funding received by the Ford Motor Company Fund.  

In the last 10 years, the first-generation student population at Tech has grown by over 344% and has increased by 16.5% since last school year. With 2,477 first-generation college students currently enrolled at Tech, the timing to continue to develop customized programming and resources that will better serve first-generation students’ needs is ever-present. 

Recently, Tech has made several intentional efforts to expand access through engagement and support of students from underrepresented populations. Specific first-generation recruitment efforts, such as waiving application fees of prospective first-generation students, last summer’s launch of the First-Generation College Institute for 8th through 12th-grade first-generation students—jointly led by the Office of First-Generation Student Initiatives, CEISMC, and the Office of Admissions, have all directly impacted the increase in enrollment numbers.  

However, first-generation students face unique barriers once admitted into college. These barriers resulted in a higher attrition rate and inequity in career outcomes, compared to continuing education generation students. For example, first-generation students may have limited access to professional connections, less exposure to networking, and more hesitation in making new professional connections.  

The Career Center’s First-Generation Shadow Program will increase first-generation students’ career capital potential by expanding their opportunities to explore career pathways and participate in internships and co-ops.  

Career Center Executive Director, and former first-generation college student, James Barricelli, is excited about the energy at Georgia Tech to encourage and invest in our first-generation students. “As the Career Center focuses on transforming the career education process to be more equitable, a partnership with First-Generation Student Initiatives was a natural fit," said Barricelli. 

The Career Center was awarded $20,000 in funding to charter the First-Gen Shadow Program by the Ford Motor Company Fund this fall. The Ford Motor Company Fund supports local communities by working with nonprofit organizations and community partners across the U.S. and in 43 countries to provide resources and opportunities that advance racial equity, provide access to essential services, offer tools to build new skill sets, and open pathways to high-quality jobs so people can reach their highest potential.   

The First-Generation Shadow Program, which will be available for first-generation undergraduate and graduate students, will allow students the opportunity to participate in informational interviews with employers prior to making site visits to employment locations. Employers and Georgia Tech alumni from all industries, including STEM, business, government, and nonprofit, are invited to participate as program hosts. Employers and alum can register to be a host here:

Employer registration is open now until January 6. The program launches in Spring 2023 with student registration opening on January 18 until January 31, 2023. Once students are accepted into the program, they will be matched with an employer indicated on their registration application and begin the shadow experience between February and April 2023. 

For more information about the First-Generation Shadow Program, email