Career-Connected Learning Goes Virtual

2 Schools Funded by Grant from PSP Pivot from Planned Internships to Online Career Panels

Last month, students from Swenson Arts and Technology High School had the opportunity to interact virtually with a pediatric surgeon from St. Christopher’s Hospital and a Burn Care Unit nurse from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. The students asked the medical professionals questions about their work experiences--in Philadelphia's largest job industry--and their career pathways. Starting next week, students at Parkway Center City Middle College will participate in Q&A Career Panels with professionals from many area companies and organizations, including Vanguard Group, the Philadelphia Phillies, WHYY, and Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Some of these companies had expected to host interns from Parkway this spring. Due to the COVID-19 guidelines, both schools’ career learning has transitioned online.

While schools across the city have been adjusting to remote learning as a result of COVID-19, high schools focused on career education, such as Swenson and Parkway, have to make their adjustments in partnership with employers already dealing with their own “virtual” challenges. Led by a career education coordinator made possible by a grant from PSP, Parkway and Swenson have shown agility in shifting their plans for career-connected learning.


A flyer for a virtual career experience that
students participated in this week.

 

New Grant to Give High School Students a Step Up
School District and Nonprofit Aim to Boost Students in Identifying Career Paths and Preparing for (and Affording) College

Career-focused education will surely become even more important as Philadelphia endeavors to recover from rapid unemployment created by the pandemic. With that in mind, PSP’s Board of Directors recently approved a three-year, $344,000 grant to create a College and Workforce Equity Partnership spanning19 high schools in the School District of Philadelphia.

The schools, all part of Learning Network 1, will partner with local nonprofit Steppingstone Scholars to provide tailored college preparation and career-connected learning to nearly 300 students annually. These students will participate in dual enrollment (credit-bearing college courses) and internships or other workplace learning experiences. The investment aims to help students by ensuring they are prepared for--and can enroll in, afford and complete--postsecondary education that puts them on their chosen career trajectories. The initiative expands upon similar and successful efforts that Steppingstone has managed in a handful of schools, including Carver High School of Engineering & Science, a PSP portfolio school.

"The support that PSP has provided will allow us to scale up our work to give more low income students the opportunity to access and be successful at high performing public schools. Additionally, this initiative is the foundation of our goals to increase preparation for college and lower college tuition costs for low income public school students in Philadelphia. We are excited and deeply appreciative of this transformative investment."
- Sean Vereen, President, Steppingstone Scholars (and a recent addition to the PSP Board of Directors!)

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