Shedd Aquarium

Hands-on job experience and career exposure among the fish and sea turtles.

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Chicago's beloved Shedd Aquarium opened on May 30, 1930, as the first inland aquarium with both salt- and fresh-water habitats. Since then, the Aquarium has expanded its offerings to include community outreach and education initiatives, and now functions as a vital landmark in the community, with nearly two million visitors from around the world each yearfootnote 1.

The Aquarium’s innovative work-study programs for teens are integral to this outreach. These programs, including the Shedd Ambassadors, Green Gardeners, and Young Naturalists programs, provide job skills training and career exposure to local youth. Students connect with the natural world, and the program teaches them valuable life and professional skills, such as communication and problem-solving techniques.

Shedd Aquarium's innovative work-study programs provide job skills training and career exposure to local youth.

JPMorgan Chase believes every young person deserves a promising future and has supported these programs for 20 years. Charlie C., Vice President, Corporate Responsibility notes, "JPMorgan Chase's partnership with Shedd enables us to strengthen work-readiness skills in young people who need that help the most."

One opportunity. Lasting effects.

The Aquarium's programs provide students with real-world job experience, skills training and the chance to explore careers in science.

$255K grant

JPMorgan Chase funding provided for the teen work-study program from 2013-2015.

356K teenagers

Number of teenagers who have participated in the three different work-study programs since 2010footnote 2.

545 Students

Number of students who applied to the Shedd Aquarium Teen Work-Study program in 2015 (up from 267 in 2014)footnote 2.

Curtis H., a student at Mount Carmel High School, has participated in the work-study program for three years, moving through all three tracks and serving as a Senior Teen Mentor. He leveraged that experience and now has a part-time staff job on the Shedd guest experience team.

"I have been in the Teen Work-Study program for six consecutive seasons," says Curtis. “Each time I reapplied, I had a different goal. From coming out of my shell to developing skills as a leader, every goal I've had has been accomplished with my Shedd family by my side. Working here at Shedd has truly changed me. I feel like I have become an amphibian because I went through so many seasons, just like frogs go through stages. And through the seasons I have become the person I am today."

Shedd Aquarium grid image

At Shedd Aquarium, students learn how to connect with marine life, and most importantly, how to connect with each other.

Meet the people behind the program.


Director of Guest Engagement

“I look at some of the students. From when they first came in and I see the evolution. It blows me away and amazes me.”


Senior Vice President, Global Field Programs & Learning

“We want to really focus on developing people's skills, most specifically here in the city of Chicago.”