TFIM team leaders report on projects

Team leaders from high schools participating in The Future Is Mine (TFIM0 convened at the Consortium in early December for a mid-year debriefing on their projects and to begin planning TFIM’s annual Student Leadership Conference.

Students and advisors attending the meeting also heard presentations on opportunities for free post-secondary education programs that could offer career avenues to kids not planning to go to college.

TFIM is a career exploration and leadership development program. Team projects are an integral part of it because they help students develop soft skills that are critical in the workplace—from organization and planning to communications and critical thinking. Part of the December meeting was spent on project planning.

Typically, the projects are career-related—aimed either at exploring different career paths or raising awareness about career options among peers.

A small sampling of projects being planned this year are:

  • A career day for middle school students in Ringgold School District
  • An awareness campaign at Steel Valley High School, where the TFIM team is putting bar-coded flyers in the halls to connect peers to videos alumni are making to describe their career paths.
  • A business etiquette luncheon at Greensburg Salem High School with a program focused on two questions: Who am I? and What does success look like for me?

Following project report-outs, team leaders discussed possible themes for TFIM’s annual two-day Student Leadership Conference in April and began thinking about break-out sessions. The April event always boasts a dozen breakouts as well as workplace visits with 16 employers. Companies and other organizations open their doors for the Conference each year, giving kids opportunities to see how different jobs are done and talk to the people who do them.

Additionally. Patrick Bendel,  Special Projects Coordinator for New Century Careers and Pat Gambridge from Bidwell Training Center gave presentations on career-training opportunities for kids looking to enter the workforce without degrees.

Through New Century, a nonprofit specializing in workforce development for the manufacturing industry, Bendel said high school graduates can train for machining or other skilled manufacturing jobs.

At Bidwell, an accredited nonprofit career and technical school, students can earn an associate’s degree to become a lab technician or diplomas in culinary arts, horticulture or healthcare occupations including pharmacy technician, medical assistant and medical claims processing or coding.