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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 005-99
January 08, 1999

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ENDORSES "GROUNDHOG JOB SHADOW DAY"

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has issued a memorandum to the military services and Defense agencies encouraging uniformed service members and civilian employees to participate in a volunteer project designed to provide schoolchildren with adult mentors.

The project, called "Groundhog Job Shadow Day," will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 1999, when the mentors will bring a child to their workplace. The intent is to help young people understand the connection between success in school and success on the job. The program is sponsored by a coalition of organizations comprised of America's Promise (the youth development organization founded by retired Army Gen. Colin Powell), the National School-to-Work Office, Junior Achievement, and the American Society of Association Executives.

"As one of our nation's largest employers, the Department of Defense can make an enormous impact on this and other worthwhile projects to help our youth," Cohen said. "I encourage all Defense personnel to participate in the upcoming Groundhog Job Shadow Day."

There are approximately 1.4 million active military personnel, 1.5 million members of the Reserve and National Guard, and 800,000 civilian employees within the Department of Defense.

"We are very excited and honored to have the Department of Defense's support for this year's Groundhog Job Shadow Day," said Powell, chairman of America's Promise. "The potential of having a portion of the nearly four million servicemen and women, and civilian employees of the Armed Forces sharing their time, talent and treasure with our country's youth, will make a tremendous difference."

The first Groundhog Job Shadow Day was conducted last year, when about 50,000 students, across the nation, spent all or part of the day at work with a mentor. The largest corporate participant sponsored 5,000 children.

For more information on Groundhog Job Shadow Day, call (410) 810-7910 or visit the official Groundhog Job Shadow Day website at www.jobshadow.org.