Monthly Archives: April 2017

Conference gives kids firsthand look at career options

A visit to Dollar Bank during the annual student Leadership Conference for The Future Is Mine (TFIM) helped Amani, a McKeesport Area High School senior realize she might find her niche in financial services, even though her love is foreign languages. “I could go into international banking,” she said.

For Joseph, a Bethlehem Center High School senior who’s considering a theater career, a visit to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust offered not only a look behind the stage, but also a chance to find out from actors and others what their professional lives are like. It couldn’t help but be an eye-opener—most of them said they work multiple jobs.

Firsthand exposure to work environments and to professionals in different careers always is a highlight of the two-day Conference, which caps the school year for TFIM, a Consortium program designed to help students explore and prepare for careers. Some 16 employers open their doors every year for attendees to visit, interact with employees, and sometimes even get a taste of what their work is like. Visits to Urban Design Associates (UDA), for example, always feature design charrettes, where kids try to reimagine a landscape and plan its redevelopment. This year, they focused on Smallman Street in the Strip District and the old produce terminal there.

Themed Ready for the Future, this year’s Conference took place April 20-21 at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center. It brought together some 400 students and team advisors from nearly 30 school districts.

The event also is designed to give participants a chance to look at higher education opportunities, attend a dozen career-related workshops, visit a cultural venue and meet peers from communities that run the gamut from urban and suburban to rural.

“The Conference is really beneficial because you get to look into what you might want to do and it definitely helps build your communications skills,” said Brianna, a Bethlehem Center High School senior.

It can be a life changing experience for some kids, as can the program itself.  Just ask Austin Davis, Executive Assistant to Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, a TFIM alum and McKeesport grad. The program had a such a profound impact, he’s helped host employer site visits at TFIM’s annual conferences for the past several years. The way he sees it, “There’s usually a barrier for high school students trying to meet working professionals.” The exploration experiences TFIM facilitates, “help get you past that,” he said

Davis should know: he now holds the same job TFIM gave him the opportunity to shadow. What’s more, the individual who held it at the time, during former County Chief Executive Dan Onoroto’s tenure, has become a friend and mentor from whom he still seeks advice. “It’s a testament to how you can build relationships” through TFIM, he said.

In addition to the County Executive’s Office, the Cultural Trust and Dollar Bank, employers hosting site visits included: ALCOSAN; Allegheny General Hospital; Carnegie Museum of Art; Google; Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; Huntington National Bank; i-Heart Media; Jefferson Hospital; Schell Games; Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum; Waterways Association of Pittsburgh and the Gateway Clipper; and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

A post-secondary education fair held at the Sen. John Heinz History Center gave attendees a chance to visit with admissions reps from: Alderson Broadus University; Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Community College of Allegheny County; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; LaRoche College; Penn State Greater Allegheny; Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics; Pitt Greensburg; Pittsburgh Technical College; Robert Morris University; and Slippery Rock University.

Sponsors for the event included: American Eagle Outfitters; Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Comcast; Dollar Bank; Duquesne Light Company; Eat n’ Park; the Education Foundation; Highmark; HM Insurance Group; Huntington National Bank; LaRoche College; National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining; NexTier; Nutrition Inc., Pitt Greensburg; the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation; the Pittsburgh Pirates; Pittsburgh Technical College; Sen. John Heinz Regional History Center; Scottdale Bank; UPMC; United Way; University of Pittsburgh; and Waste Management. Our site hosts are: ALCOSAN; Allegheny County; Allegheny General Hospital; Carnegie Museum of Art; Dollar Bank; Google; Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; Huntington National Bank; i-Heart Media; Jefferson Hospital; Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Schell Games; Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall; Waterways Association & Gateway Clipper; United Way and Urban Design Associates.

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Thanks to site hosts and sponsors, TFIM’s annual two-day Student Leadership Conference kicks off April 20

Our annual two-day Student Leadership Conference for The Future Is Mine (TFIM) kicks off Thursday morning with site visits to 16 different employers and support from dozens of others.

Please join us in shout out to the companies and organizations opening their doors and/or providing financial support so that 350 students from nearly 30 high schools can explore careers and get Ready for the Future, the theme for this year’s event.

Our financial sponsors this year are:  American Eagle Outfitters; Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Comcast; Dollar Bank; Duquesne Light Company; Eat n’ Park; the Education Foundation; Highmark; HM Insurance Group; Huntington National Bank; LaRoche College; National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining; NexTier; Nutrition Inc., Pitt Greensburg; the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation; Pittsburgh Marriott City Center; the Pittsburgh Pirates; Pittsburgh Technical College; Sen. John Heinz Regional History Center; Scottdale Bank; UPMC; United Way; University of Pittsburgh; and Waste Management.

Ready for the Future is the Theme for this year's Conference

This year’s Conference theme is: Ready for the Future 

Employers hosting site visits include: ALCOSAN; Allegheny County; Allegheny General Hospital; Carnegie Museum of Art; Dollar Bank; Google; Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; Huntington National Bank; i-Heart Media; Jefferson Hospital; Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Schell Games; Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall; Waterways Association & Gateway Clipper; United Way and Urban Design Associates.

Along with our supporters and hosts, post-secondary schools and military reps from our region will also help students attending the Conference in planning their futures. On hand for our post-secondary education fair will be: Alderson Broaddus University, Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Community College of Allegheny County; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, LaRoche College; Penn State University; Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Pitt Greensburg; Pittsburgh Technical College; Robert Morris University; Slippery Rock University and the U.S. Army.

Following their post-secondary fair, students will head to the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center for dinner, a dance, an overnight stay and, on Friday, a half day of career related workshops. We’ll tell you more after the Conference begins, so visit our website soon again!

 

First Energy hosts project presentations 

Students from Blackhawk High School presented findings this week to engineers at First Energy who visited the informal displays showing how they’d approach challenges related to nuclear energy.

The students embarked on the projects as participants in our Student Powered Solutions program.

The challenges ranged from aesthetic to scientific, with some teams working on designs to improve the appearance of cooling towers, others working on ways to reduce nucleotide discharges and still others weighing the advantages and disadvantages of alternative forms of power production.

Five classes, ranging from art and algebra to environmental science and physics, took part. A group of students in the school’s Technology Students Association (TSA) also participated with a demonstration of a bicycle that produced power, turning kinetic energy into electricity through a small generator. They used the power to charge cellphones and spin a wheel to make spatter paintings.

For Jacob, a sophomore who participates in TSA, working with the engineers at First Energy was an opportunity “work on something where you get the chance to talk to the people who really do it.”

“You get a lot more out of it because of that,” he said.

For Brandon, who worked on a project that explored the advantages and disadvantages of geothermal power production in comparison to nuclear, “It was just good to have a real challenge.”

His teammate Elijah said presenting the projects at display stations “really helps your public speaking skills.”

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Consortium taps six winners at Champions of Learning Awards celebration and makes special tribute

Winners in six categories took center stage Saturday, April 1, 2017 when the Consortium for Public Education presented its annual Champions of Learning Awards.

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2017 Champions of Learning Award Winners

Don Marinelli, Director of Innovation at 535 Media/Inven Global, emceed the event at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

“We had an outstanding group of finalists,” said the Consortium’s Executive Director Mary Kay Babyak. “Every year, I am so impressed at the way community organizations, businesses, educators and volunteers work together to create such rich and varied learning experiences for kids in our region.”

Sharing in the celebration, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania presented its “Be There” awards to individuals who go above and beyond to support youth in Allegheny County.

The Consortium presented awards in six categories—the Arts; Business Partnerships; Classroom Teaching; Community Outreach; Leadership and Volunteerism.

Additionally, the Special Tribute for 2017 went to Bill Isler, former President and Chief Executive Officer of The Fred Rogers Co. and former Pittsburgh Public School Board President. Isler was recognized as a lifelong educator and children’s advocate.

In The Arts, Prime Stage took the honors for using arts and entertainment to enhance education. For Business Partnerships, the award went to Blueroof Technologies, a McKeesport community development firm that creates STEM learning and employment opportunities for youth. The award for Classroom Teaching went to Robert Rodrigues, an award-winning History teacher at Chartiers Valley High School. The Isaiah Project, which provides mentoring and other programming to improve graduation rates among at-risk youth in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop neighborhoods, won the award for Community Outreach. The award for Leadership went to Randy Miller, Laurel Highlands School District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Dennis Webber won the Volunteerism award for his service as Board President of the Greenville Area School District and for other ways in which he has volunteered his time there.