At my school students work one day a week at over fifty locations in Pittsburgh. This work-study program happens each year they are in high school. In freshman year students are primarily placed in non-profits. As they advance in high school they discover different career options and their passions through various work-study options. Students have been exposed to engineering, computer science and high-tech manufacturing as well as healthcare and human services careers. It's been amazing to hear students describe their interests so early-on in their high school tenure. I attribute this clarity to the work study positions they hold. Teachers connect the work-study roles students hold back in the classroom through experiential project based learning.
To expand this program at my school but also other schools in the region and beyond, a system to connect work-study sponsors and students is needed. This website would also feature virtual mentoring opportunities, career "tracks," college admissions tactics and scholarship information.