Pittsburgh Public Schools, city pledges to provide students with more jobs and internships

Students participating in the Pittsburgh Public Schools Career and Technical Education Program will have increased access to job shadowing, paid internships and jobs, city and school officials announced Friday.

A partnership between the city, the school district and local business partners aims to prepare students for the job market and help them connect directly to jobs after graduation. Called Prepare to Thrive, the program offers students “real-world steps that invest in their economic livelihood,” Superintendent Wayne Walters said.

The initiative aims to break down barriers to employment and ensure students are ready for a rapidly changing workforce, Walters said.

The district has already partnered with about 40 or 50 companies — including UPMC, Allegheny Health Network Presbyterian Senior Care and several unions — that provide career opportunities for students, said Angela Mike, executive director of the Career Division and PPS technical education.

The school’s Career and Technical Education program recruits 10th graders for a program that helps prepare students for the careers that interest them. They begin with job shadowing internships and progress to paid internships with the city and various industry partners.

Participating students will receive paid short-term internships during the district’s winter and spring breaks, as well as co-operative education placements and summer and part-time jobs. The city and its network of partners will offer entry-level and career ladder jobs to eligible students.

Over the next two years, the Prepare to Prosper partnership will also participate in experiences such as the CTE-City of Pittsburgh Career Expo, the Hire Learning employability event, field trips and job shadowing with various positions in the city.

The program has received support from several local businesses, including the Steamfitters, which donated more than $20,000 in equipment for a student lab, Mike said.

“We have come together as one coalition with one goal: to help our students succeed,” said Mike.

The city offers student shadowing and internship opportunities in various city departments, and the mayor’s office hosted two PPS interns over the summer, according to Maria Montaño, the mayor’s spokeswoman.

The Prepare to Thrive program, Montaño explained, is intended to ensure that students who participate in these programs have direct access to jobs at Pittsburgh companies.

“In terms of risk factors that would lead to a barrier that would make it harder for you to be employed, the most at-risk group is (ages) 16 to 24,” said Robert Cherry, CEO of Partner4Work, an employment organization that connects job seekers with employers.

That’s why Partner4Work is now partnering with Pittsburgh Public Schools to offer their resources and connections to connect students with jobs in the fields that interest them.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey told PPS seniors gathered for the announcement that they should take advantage of these opportunities.

“The only way we grow as a city is if we have a partnership based on our children,” Gainey said. “Without our youth, there is no future. You are the future leaders. Our job is to ensure that you grow in a field where you can earn a living for yourself and your family.

The mayor told students they should be able to access any level of higher education or vocational training they seek.

“You can marry this thing called education and birth to a lifetime of opportunity that you can spend your life enjoying,” Gainey told the students. “To do this, we as leaders have an obligation and a responsibility to you. We need to create as many pathways to prosperity as possible.

Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Pittsburgh-based self-driving technology company Argo AI and a member of the chamber of commerce, told students that businesses across the city are here “with open arms, ready to welcome you.”

“On behalf of the local business community, we are here for you,” he said. “We are here to support you.”

Salesky acknowledged that some students may not know how to take next steps to find jobs or explore industries they might want to enter, but said business owners like him can guide students in the right direction. direction.

“You don’t need a college degree to be successful,” he said. “If you want to go to college, that’s a great route, but there are so many others out there. We need people who know how to work with their hands and their minds.

Julia Felton is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia by email at jfelton@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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