In August 2010, the Growth Partnership reaffirmed that workforce development remains one of our top priorities. To that end, over the course of the last year we have broadened our engagement beyond what had been more of a singular focus on establishing a community college to include additional initiatives, like Erie Together, the School to Career Partnership, and others to help better prepare individuals to fill local jobs.
As we have delved more deeply into this, we have learned that there are numerous programs both within the schools and throughout the broader community to help better prepare young people for meaningful employment, but that these programs could benefit exponentially from greater input from the private sector. We have also learned that the faculty and staff within the schools and the professionals delivering programs throughout the community are very interested in that additional private sector engagement.
To achieve this goal of better preparing students to serve local business needs, the Growth Partnership is in the process of identifying specific opportunities to create stronger linkages between the business community and elementary, middle and high school-age programs, staff and students. This could include everything from creating ways for the private sector to impact curriculum development, enhance school and community program delivery, and expand the number and types of career exploration opportunities that currently exist within our community for our young people.
Our plan is to collaborate with appropriate organization(s) to coordinate and streamline opportunities for meaningful private sector engagement in career exploration activities, and initial discussions have already begun with the School to Career Partnership which could be the most logical partner. Our general objectives in this arena are threefold: (1) to ensure career counseling at every school, (2) to ensure that every graduate leaves high school with a career plan, and (3) to create a menu of options for involvement in curriculum, programs and career exploration activities from which the business community can choose to become engaged. This idea has been well received among educators, programmatic staff and private sector leaders alike. The keys will be to secure the necessary volunteer and paid staff support, and ensure that whatever we ultimately implement is sustainable over time and achieving desired and measurable outcomes.
We also expect to become actively engaged in assisting with implementation of Common Core Standards to improve proficiency in core subject areas.
CAREER EXPLORATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR POTENTIAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:
• Career Days
• Career Portfolio development
• Community Service
• Cooperative Education/Jobs
• Graduation/Senior Project
• Job Shadowing
• Part-time employment
• Registered apprenticeship
• School-based enterprise
• Field trips
• Career Speakers
• Career Clubs
• Career Camps
• Career Magazine for use in curriculum
• Career Fairs
• College Fairs
• Job Fairs
• Occupational websites related to careers
• Career phone applications
• Career Cruising software
The above list was generated at the Erie Together meeting in early August 2011 as a comprehensive list of “Career Exploration Activities”. Many of these are prescribed in the PA Standards Aligned Systems, however some are not. Many would be appropriate for business community involvement, but a couple/few may not provide such an opportunity.