Derek Reber, In School Youth Supervisor, PA CareerLink®
The Bridges to the Future program in Centre county works with students from CPI, Bellefonte, and Bald Eagle Area from the end of their 10th grade year through a year after graduation. Students need to meet certain eligibility criteria to be enrolled into the program. The program works with the students on career exploration and career preparation monthly within the program. Two of the main components of the program is camp STEAM and the summer PWE.
Students going into their junior year have the opportunity to participate in camp STEAM. At camp STEAM students learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Four days of the camp students get to go to local businesses and learn more about careers in STEAM. The other four days students work in a classroom type setting working on activities and projects involving STEAM principals. Students get a $250 stipened for participating in the camp. The second main component of the program is for students who will be going into their senior year of school. Students have the opportunity to do a summer paid work experience.
They are paid through the CareerLink and the employers just "host" the students. Students are found positions in their career fields of interest. The summer work experience starts in June lasts eight weeks long and ends in August. Students can work a total of 240 hours and up to 30 hours per week. If employers need clearances to host the student if they do not have them already the CareerLink can help pay for the cost of those clearances. During the school year students are met with monthly to work on many different career readiness activities such as, career exploration, resume writing, cover letter writing, mock interviewing, etc..
Upon graduation students are assisted with placement in college, the military or post-secondary education and are followed for up to a year after graduation.