How Might We Connect Students to Employers for Workforce Development and Passion Discovery?

Many cities have workforce needs not being met, many studnets aren't sure what the options/needs are. How might we bridge this gap?

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
24 11

Written by

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. 

24 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kathleen Chromicz
Team

I think that this experience is essential for students. It takes time to create internships and relationships with businesses, but student really need this.

Photo of Matthew Drewette-Card
Team

This idea has me deeply thinking about the transparent and explicit connection between school and the "real world."  Our transcripts, grades, and tools of communication are not based in any kind of common language that is easily decodable.  

How might a digital portfolio, say with microcredentials supporting their skills, help the students market themselves and connect with employers/universities?  How might we create a place where students can market their abilities and knowledge base safely and securely, that also draws from databases to safely and securely connect those skills with potential matches for employment, deeper learning, or application?  

So many thoughts..... 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

My student voice interviews this last week showed that most students don't know about where to find out information about colleges and career options unless they find them out on their own. Students report that they "Google" and have to look for things on their own. 

The website concept - College by Way of Work Study connects students to experts from the 16 career clusters identified by ACTE. Each cluster will feature video stories of people working in those clusters, advice on pursuing college and education and in phase II, job opportunities by way of work study programming. Schools that permit independent study or work release will be able to offer the opportunity ot students to connect with real people to learn about careers, get a virtual mentor and eventually gain an externship by participating companies. Best practices for schools who wish to run a program will also be featured as they adopt this opportunity. Wireframes and pitch video coming soon! 

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

Lisa, Thank you for adding me to your team. If you have working doc. please share the link. 

I am aware of a few programs where we live that offer these kinds of connections. I'd like to see how we can connect the ideas. 

I love the idea of a website or even an app. Where students can explore college options, college paths, requirements, career paths, career options, maybe even personal inventory and aptitude quizzes to help students choose a path. 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

Here is our collaborative Google Doc. Take a look: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qQbuKxmgZ35SGJcGKCOuyw7E3IRfM5cFUsWdkh4O_og/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of Jeremy McDonald
Team

Hey Lisa,
I work at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School. This is right up my alley. I am really interested in your school and would love to set up a time to talk. Perhaps we can partner on this challenge. I will post my idea in a day or two-- no rush or anything. My idea is focusing on building self-efficacy. As you no doubt know from your experience at your school, this is a critical piece to the placement puzzle. You can reach me at mcdonaldj@dbcr.org. 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

Jeremy I would love to work with you! 

Photo of Charesha Barrett
Team

My name is Charesha Barrett, and I am currently designing an education and workforce development program for students between the ages of 16-24. I am interested in collaborating with you because your idea is aligned with mine. Please contact me at charesha.barrett@gmail.com

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

I would love to wok with you! I will add you to the team. 

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

They have a similar program running in Iowa where students are paired up with corn manufacturers and during the summer go to Alaska to study corn in short growing seasons.

Students learn hands on training, get experience, and earn 60,000$ over the summer. 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

Wow, so cool! Do they go straight to work or then college?

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

College and intern with the company still.

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

This is a fantastic idea. I would love to be on this team. This is a very relevant need and a missing piece.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

If you've got a second, would appreciate if you could add some of the posts from Discover that inspired this, such as your own Exploring Careers with the Explorers etc. This would help people have more context when they are digging into your idea. Thanks!

Photo of Paula Marra
Team

Hey Lisa,
Let's do this!! What would the website look like? How did you approach the companies, do you have a step by step guide that can be scalable? Shall we start a doc ? Michael Schurr let's.

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

We already know how to approach the companies for the work-study. We have a "sales kit" and there is a successful network of schools (http://www.cristoreynetwork.org/) that inspired our work study program. The website could streamline the connection process but also offer many other complimentary activities and then be able to be leveraged by other schools that want to build a work study. Would  love to brainstorm more about what it could look like! 

Photo of Paula Marra
Team

YES!!! and we can share your expertise with others as you already found a path! Wanna start a gdoc and link to your post? 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qQbuKxmgZ35SGJcGKCOuyw7E3IRfM5cFUsWdkh4O_og/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of Paula Marra
Team

Awesome! We are going to have a blast sharing your expertise! Saw doc! Michael Schurr ready? let's do this with Lisa Palmieri, Ph.D. 

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Awesome!  I am a huge fan of the Cristo Rey network, and I think Jeremy McDonald would probably like to join this idea too! (He works at a Cristo Rey school near me.) 

Photo of James Campbell
Team

Hi Lisa you always seem to have the most amazing things happening.  How long has the program been running? As it grows in city and region would love to see it spread south.  

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

Thanks, my friend! Our school is two years old but this model isn't new! There is a network of schools that have this model - called http://www.cristoreynetwork.org/ our model is slightly different as our curricular program is a bit more innovative given our design focus and network campus program (where the students take classes at community partner sites). 

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Hi Lisa
Yes and.... my school has an Alternative school that does internships every January, so instead of going to classes, students spend the month as interns in all kinds of businesses, etc. And it's amazing! The trick, as you say, is developing a list of sponsors. because the A School has been doing this for years, they keep such a list-based on their years of experiences. The regular high school also has an internship program for the last six weeks of a senior's high school career. This works ONLY if students are encouraged-and required-to do something authentic. I spend this part of the year pushing students to do something worthwhile. I always tell them, if I had 6 weeks to pursue anything I wanted, I would really take advantage of it. And those kids have had amazing experiences that shaped their futures! I think a website is an amazing idea. It would have to be area specific though, don't you think? Happy to share more about what we do here.
Lisa

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Team

Thanks! It's too bad its an "alternative ed" option for most schools. Our work study program is way beyond Vo-Tech as many Alt Schools focus on. We have students working at law firms and high-tech companies, etc. Helping students become passionate about a career earlier and more deeply can especially help at-risk youth pursue college. 

What I would love to see designed is a technology system to support this.. not just make pairs of the students passion/proposed college major to internship but also virtual mentoring, career exploration, digital media, etc!