School-to-Career Partnership

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2001

gets $240,000 grant


Staff Writer

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Pike County’s School-to-Career Partnership is $240,000 richer.

Gov. Don Siegelman awarded grant funds to help students become prepared for career opportunities in the workforce.

"We’re excited to have that grant funded again," said Mark Bazzell, assistant superintendent of the Pike County Schools. "Students in Pike County will benefit from programs we’re running through that grant."

The community as a whole benefits, Bazzell said, adding "everyone" was involved in preparing the application for the second year of funding.

"Students make better decisions about their education when they see the connection between what they learn in school and what is required in the workplace," Siegelman said. "This partnership between business, education and government helps ensure that every student is equipped to enter the workforce or to seek additional education and training."

The partnership’s goals are to see increases in high school retention rates, adults completing high school, adults completing at least two years of college and adults completing their degrees, as well as to create a better-trained job workforce that will reduce employee turnover.

The Pike County program involved implementing school to career concepts into post secondary teacher education programs, continuing to develop the National Business Alliance "Making Academics Count" program and providing opportunities for professional development at all stakeholder levels ­ teachers, businesses, administrators, parents and community leaders.

The partnership also involves identifying and creating solutions to social barriers that impede target groups from accessing the school-to-career opportunities of the system. The groups include young women, rural students, at-risk students, minorities, students with limited English proficiency, youth offenders and incarcerated young adults, academically talented students and migrant children.

Alabama’s School-to-Career system provides programs for all students from kindergarten to college.

In grades kindergarten through fifth, students begin to develop career awareness with lessons that show them the value of work and how education can lead to a promising career.

Students in grades six through eight start career exploration by beginning to consider how their own interests and aptitudes can relate to the world of work. They also have their first opportunities to "job shadow" successful adults.

High school students are urged to develop a career portfolio and identify a career major with the understanding a career choice is a changing, lifelong process. They are also provided opportunities for work-based learning and comprehensive counseling on their plans for college and careers.

Siegelman awarded the grant from funds made available to the governor’s office through the federal School-to-Career Implementation Grant program. The grant fund are administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.