Monthly Archives: January 2019

Career learning opportunities coming up for students, parents and educators

Duquesne Light Co. plans to offer opportunities for both students and teachers to learn about careers in the electric utility industry.

Students who are in their senior year will be offered a spring “Boot Camp” from March 11 through April 19. The six week, half-day program is designed to prepare students for the Electrical Distribution Technology (EDT) program that Duquesne Light offers in partnership with Community College of Allegheny County. The program helps students become candidates for skilled crafts within the electric utility industry. Learn more.

The utility also will offer educators 2-week paid internships from July 22 through August 2. The internships are designed to give educators hands-on experiences to acquaint them with a wide range of careers in the electric utility industry with an emphasis on skilled crafts. Educators also will learn about job and training requirements  and develop lesson plans that they can use in their classrooms. Learn more

South Allegheny School District is offering an open-house for students and parents from any school district to explore options for the future with representatives from three dozen employers, the military, post-secondary schools and apprenticeship programs. The event takes place Thursday, Feb. 14 from 6 pm to 8 pm. Learn more.

Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, along with trade union apprenticeship programs and construction companies, is hosting an opportunity for students to learn about careers in construction on Friday, March 29 from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm at the David Lawrence Convention Center. Learn more. Allegheny County schools in need of transportation can contact Markese Long, Community Engagement Specialist at Partner4Work at Schools seeking transportation assistance in Beaver, Washington and Greene counties to Ami Gatts at

Woodland Hills students to look at chemicals from different angles as part of Student Powered Solutions project

Students from three entrepreneurship classes in Woodland Hills School District kicked off a project with Covestro in January as part of our Student Powered Solutions (SPS) program. The kickoff came just a month following conclusion of three SPS projects at Hampton Middle School.

Before beginning a tour of Covestro’s North American headquarters and laboratories, several of the company’s staffers briefed the Woodland Hills students on a challenge the company and others in its industry face: persuading people—possibly more so the younger they are—that not all chemicals are harmful. 

The opening presentation and the tour were designed to dispel that notion and demonstrate that the polymers Covestro produces have environmental benefits.

For one thing, none go into the single-use plastics that have been so much in the news for polluting waterways.  Instead, Covestro’s polymers are used in durable goods like automobiles, mattresses and refrigerators. More importantly, a number of the uses have resulted in environmental benefits, like better mileage in cars where plastics have been used to replace many metal components like bumpers.

Presentations before the tour and in the labs were an eye-opener for many students.

“It’s all a lot more complicated than I thought,” said Chloe, young woman responding to a question from a chemist who quizzed students about their perceptions after they’d toured his lab.

Creating projects to assess and change student perceptions could be equally complicated, students seemed to agree.  Over lunch following the tour, Zachary, a ninth grader, for example, said he needed to learn more about instances where environmental tradeoffs favor plastics. “We need to gather evidence,” he added.

Like others, he was enthused about the project because it involves him in a real-world issue. Doing research for answers and evidence and applying learning to the real world is key to the kind of Project Based Learning Experiences that SPS supports. By working in teams, partnering with companies and taking charge of their projects, students also develop soft skills, like collaboration, communications and critical thinking.

Earlier in the month, three middle school classes at Hampton School District, middle schoolers wound up SPS projects as part of their science classes. One class partnered with 412-Food Rescue, a nonprofit that tries to curtail food waste, on ways to reduce food waste in the school cafeteria. The other two took on a National Geographics challenge to find ways of reducing water pollution.




Consortium and United Way name finalists for the 2019 Champions of Learning Awards

Selection Committees for the 2019 Champions of Learning Awards have announced 18 finalists in six categories for 2019. (See complete list.)

“It’s just an outstanding group of candidates” said the Consortium’s Executive Director Mary Kay Babyak. “We want to congratulate all of our finalists and let them know that they emerged from an extremely competitive pool of nominees. We’re really looking forward to celebrating them in May.”

The awards are intended to bring recognition to adults who go above and beyond to give youth in our region outstanding learning opportunities, mentoring or support.

The Consortium and United Way began this year to field nominations and select candidates in partnership. In the past two years, the organizations partnered in the award celebration where winners are announced, but held separate nominating processes and had different categories.

Categories include: Leadership; K-6 Educators; 7-12 Educators; School Staff; Providers/Community Partners; and Volunteers.

Winners in each of the categories will be announced at the Champions of Learning Awards celebration on Thursday, May 2. Make your reservations to attend the event through Eventbrite.