Greater Latrobe OKs $40K grant, coordinator for career program
Greater Latrobe School District this year is ramping up its career programs for high school students with the help of a $40,000 federal grant and a new mentorship coordinator.
The school board in August accepted the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to support its recently introduced Career Pathways program, and hired North Huntingdon native Anthony Princeton to fill the new, related coordinator position.
The grant includes $36,000 to fund the position and $4,000 to send Princeton and a district administrator to fall seminars in Coldwater, Mich., and Washington, D.C.
District officials explained in a news release that the coordinator is expected to work with district teachers, counselors and administrators to “engage students in goal-related conversations that will make their high school education more relevant and prepare them to make more informed post-high-school decisions.”
Princeton is expected to build relationships with local employers that can offer district students job shadowing and mentoring — unpaid internship — experiences, to help them explore one of five career pathways.
Pathways Greater Latrobe students may select to guide them in scheduling high school courses include: Arts and communication; engineering, industry and manufacturing technology; health and science; human service, hospitality and public administration; and financial and business services and informational technology.
A 2013 Norwin High School graduate, Princeton earned a degree in strategic communications with an emphasis on advertising at West Virginia University. He said his experience as an account executive should prove valuable in working with district partners in the business community.
“My main priority is just getting out there and ensuring the most opportunities possible for these kids, to make sure they have a clear view of what they want to do,” in their choices of post-secondary education and career goals, Princeton said.
Last school year, Greater Latrobe began to phase in its Career Pathways concept, with seventh-graders exposed to an introductory program and a pilot group of about 30 students completing mentorships.
Jon Mains, principal for grades 11 and 12 at the senior high, said, “A key piece is finding out what you don’t want to do for the rest of your life,” through the student workplace experiences.
Beginning with the Class of 2022, eighth-graders will complete a civics unit on careers, Mains explained. In ninth grade, they will begin to take courses aligned with a desired career pathway — which they can change before graduating. As sophomores, each will be expected to complete at least one job shadowing experience, and they’ll have at least one mentoring placement as juniors, he said.
Princeton noted that students may seek workplace experiences multiple times. “I’d love to place kids two or three times if that’s possible,” he said.
Souderton Area School District, near Philadelphia, had a similar career program in place that served as a model for Greater Latrobe’s, Mains said. He said Greater Latrobe will seek additional funding as it continues to develop its Pathways program.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Jeff by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .