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Shift Change

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(For information on ordering a video copy of the Livelyhood "Shift Change" contact The Working Group at 510-268-WORK or email info@livelyhood.org)

Use these tips to prepare your students to view the program thoughtfully:

1. Read the summary of the show to familiarize yourself with its contents.

2. Ask these questions to begin a discussion of workplace changes that have touched students' lives:

• What businesses or factories have opened in this area recently?

• What businesses or factories have closed?

• Do you know anyone whose life was affected by any of these openings or closings? How?

• Do you know anyone who has chosen to change careers lately? Why did they do this? Do you know anyone who has had to take a different kind of job recently? Why did they have to do this? How have these changes affected those people?

• Do you know anyone whose job has changed drastically in recent years? How has it changed?

3. Inform students that as they view the program, they will meet some people who have been through the kinds of changes they've been discussing. You might also suggest that they keep the following questions in mind as they view the episode:

• Why do businesses come and go?

• Why do jobs within businesses change?

• How do these changes affect people's lives?


While Viewing

"Shift Change" presents the following segments:


Milwaukee - Will Durst sees a career counselor in his home town of Milwaukee and discovers that the beer business is no longer a growth industry there.

Segment 1

Chicago - Viewers meet 73-year-old Ann Lee Russo, who has worked for the telephone company for over 55 years and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Segment 2

Anyplace USA - Viewers take a speeded-up look at one fast-paced day in the life of an American woman.

Segment 3

Indiana - Tim Perry, a plastics worker, tells how a shorter work shift helps him produce more quality work.

Segment 4

Hawaii - Walter Branco tells how he was retrained as a nurse after losing his job when the last sugar plantation closed on the Big Island. Then Will talks about retraining and downsizing.

Segment 5

Boston - Viewers follow around Alex Brozan, a summa cum laude graduate who has been working as a computer technician on temporary assignments since completing college three years ago.

Segment 6

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Will takes a lunch break with workers in the country's deepest coal mine.

Segment 7

South San Francisco, California - Viewers are entertained at the city dump by workers who have formed an unusual kind of band.

Segment 8

Linton, North Dakota - The tour concludes with a visit with Hal Rosenbluth, a travel industry executive who opened a company facility in a drought-devastated North Dakota farm town and enjoyed spectacular results, proving that blending urban know-how with the rural work ethic is more profitable than shipping jobs overseas.



Pause once or twice while viewing to have students reflect on what they've seen. Ask:

• What kinds of changes has the program shown so far?

• How have people coped with these changes?

• These are success stories. What other stories might have been told about changes like these?

• What are the secrets to success in a workplace-change situation?

Ask whether students are confused about anything they've seen. Offer them the opportunity to visit the Livelyhood Web site and skim the summary of "Shift Change" after watching the program.

After Viewing

A variety of resources are available for linking the content of the show to particular curriculum areas, and helping students apply the content to real-world situations relevant to their own lives.

1. Follow-up Questions. These encourage students to analyze and think critically about the situations and issues presented in the show.

You might begin by having students answer their own purpose-setting questions, as well as those offered as examples:

• Why do businesses come and go?

• Why do jobs within businesses change?

• How do these changes affect people's lives?

Continue by asking questions that will lead students to relate what they've seen to their own lives:

• Which of these stories could have been filmed in our area? Explain.

• This show profiled a number of individuals. Of the people shown, whom do you admire? Why?

• Are there any lessons to be learned from these people's stories? If so, what are they?

To give students opportunities to explore these issues actively and creatively, assign one or more of the cross-curricular activities that follow.

2. Cross-Curricular Activities.These offer a variety of projects for individual students or small groups that extend concepts presented in "Shift Change." Some of these activities utilize other features of the Livelyhood Web site. All activities are appropriate for students in grades 9-12. Some are suitable for younger students as well; others are appropriate for adult students.