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The U can B Program at Propel Andrew Street School focused on an 8-week series of U can B curriculum and guest speakers so that students could learn about various career options.

Speakers from organizations such as INHABIT Real Estate, US Probation & Pretrial Services of Western PA, the CEO of a Technology company, a subject matter expert in workforce development and interview skills, visited students who are participated in a career planning class at Propel. Topics included Entrepreneurship, Careers in Criminal Justice, Careers in Media, and Entrepreneurship in the Real Estate Industry.

In addition to the guest speakers, U can B staff taught students to use online career tools such as those available at O*Net Online and at Career Talk on KDKA.

Education activities in classroom at school, happy children learning

11th Grade Propel student – 2016 – I want to get a career that I LOVE!! I learned this through the UcanB classes. My next step is to explore internships in an interesting field.
11th Grade Propel student – 2016 – I know that I want to go into the FBI. The UcanB teacher really helped me and told me what I need to do next to get a job in this area. I am going to ask for input from my family and investigate careers online.
11th Grade Propel student – 2016 – The UcanB teacher told me that there are many jobs out there and getting a college degree isn’t the only path. Loving what you do for an occupation is #1. They really helped me.
9th Grade Propel student – 2016 – I learned from all the UcanB speakers. I would like to have a career and be successful. I plan to research careers online and look for an internship.
10th Grade Propel student – 2016 – I learned that I can do what I want for a career when I am older. I found out that there are many jobs that pay well. I plan to research careers online and research careers online.
9thth Grade Propel student – 2016 – I know that I want to be an entrepreneur now.
11th Grade Propel student – 2016 – There are many jobs that I can easily obtain and my next step is to explore internships in an interesting field.

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UcanB teaches Career Education to Thousands

Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Bidwell Training Center, Blended Learning, Education, Youth Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

UcanB has wrapped up a successful 2016-2017 school year. This year alone, the program incorporated many new schools in addition to the many schools the program has already impacted. The UcanB program differs from most scholastic programs due to the broad range of real-life topics that are taught. The program taught varying topics that the students would otherwise not be exposed to. The topics that the UcanB program brings to these schools vary from technology training all the way to entrepreneurship. The goal is essentially to expose the students to things they might be interested in taking as a career path, or even study in school. The program also recognized that many students don’t end up going onto college, and through the UcanB Career Opportunity Fairs, they have a chance to be offered a full time job on the spot. This year, the program changed the lives and paths of many students who never planned on going to college or doing anything after high school. For example, an 11th grade Propel student said, “The UcanB teacher told me that there are many jobs out there and getting a college degree isn’t the only path. Loving what you do for an occupation is #1. They really helped me.” Due to the positive impact the UcanB program has made in the community thus far, they are planning to add even more topics and assemblies to further the knowledge of the working world to the students. Some of those topics will include ways in which to dress for a job interview or what to wear to a professional workplace. These topics will be taught in a way that is engaging, motivational, and relatable to the students. There might even be a prize for exceptional students. The UcanB program has had an exceptional school year and now looks forward to starting their summer...

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Building Bridges – Reminder – Application Due First week in July – PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)

Posted by on May 28, 2017 in EITC | Comments Off on Building Bridges – Reminder – Application Due First week in July – PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)

Support education while helping your company’s financial position through Tax Credits. What is EITC? A PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) program that provides state tax credits to eligible businesses for charitable contributions made to Building Bridges for Business and their teaching program U can B. Is my business eligible? If you do business in Pennsylvania and pay any of several corporate taxes, the answer is Yes. How can I make EITC work for me and my business? Visit the PA DCED website for EITC Guidelines and access to DCED’s electronic Single Application system. Once you are approved* by DCED, make your contribution Building Bridges for Business. What’s the bottom line? Tax credits equal to 75% of your contribution up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year; can be increased to 90% of your contribution, if your business agrees to provide the same amount for two consecutive tax years. *Applications are approved on a first-come-first-served basis by date received, and approved until available tax credits are exhausted. Email us at info@BuildingBridgesforBusiness.org Or Apply online at...

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Coffee With Simon Arias

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Arias Agencies, Christopher Evans, Coffee With, Finance | Comments Off on Coffee With Simon Arias

The Coffee With Show had the opportunity to sit and chat with Simon Arias, founder and President of Simon Arias Agencies, one of the highest rated workplaces in Pittsburgh. Simon Arias Agencies represents American Income Life Insurance Company (AIL) and has locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and Tennessee. At age 24, Simon launched Arias Agencies only two and a half years after contracting with AIL, making him the youngest State General Agent in company history. Simon has left a huge impact at AIL, having been promoted to leadership positions shortly after first joining in 2005. Recognized for his outstanding leadership and impressive records with AIL, Simon is looked up to as a mentor by many of the top leaders in the company. Simon’s involvement with AIL began immediately after graduating from college. Simon studied at Mercyhurst University and his post-graduation plans were centered on a real estate career in Florida. Shortly after graduation he was contacted by Ohio State General Agents Jim Surace and Marcus Smith, and Simon realized that he had found a rare opportunity with AIL that he couldn’t pass up. Within a year at the company, Simon had already been promoted to a top-level management position. Less than three years later, in 2008, he was promoted as the youngest State General Agent in company history. His career and development of Simon Arias Agencies has taken Simon and his family to new heights he never thought possible, and it has opened doors for Simon to contribute to multiple charitable efforts both locally and internationally. Arias’s excellent work with Simon Arias Agencies has given him significant recognition in the company. He was named the State General Agent of the Year for 2011 & 2012, a new record at AIL, as no other SGA had ever earned this title two years in a row. Simon was selected to contribute to AIL’s Executive Council to advise the company in its direction, and has been chosen as State General Agent of the year multiple times, the highest honor a State General Agency can achieve. Beyond that, Simon’s impressive leadership has made him a noteworthy Pittsburgh employer – Simon Arias Agencies was originally named Pittsburgh’s #1 Small Business Employer by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in 2012. Since then, Simon Arias Agencies has been continually recognized by the Post Gazette as one of Pittsburgh’s Top Workplaces. Tune in to this episode of Coffee With to take away the life and business lessons Simon has learned as a successful young business...

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Coffee With Valerie Njie – Bidwell Training Center

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Bidwell Training Center, Business Advice, Career Education for High School Students, Christopher Evans, Coffee With, Coffee With on CBS, Learning, Learning and Education, Professional Development, Resources in the Region, Videos | Comments Off on Coffee With Valerie Njie – Bidwell Training Center

Today’s episode of Coffee With focuses on careers, specifically career building and training. Joining our discussion is Mrs. Valerie Njie, the Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Bidwell Training Center (BTC). Bidwell Training Center is a non-profit career training school that has been changing people’s lives since 1968. At Bidwell, Mrs. Njie is part of an amazing organization that equips students with superb skills that can lead them to meaningful employment and empower them to become more confident, productive, and professional. Bidwell Training Center has almost 50 years of experience providing top-of-the-line career training and consistently attracts national attention for their innovative training programs. Beyond that, Bidwell Training Center is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and is a member of over 10 national and regional professional organizations. The majors offered at BTC provide learners with the hands-on skillsets they need to be prepared and competitive in the marketplace. Mrs. Njie has committed decades towards serving the Pittsburgh community and enriching the lives of others. In 2014, she was elected to serve as School Commissioner by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Mrs. Njie has been one of the ACCSC’s most active volunteers, and was selected as Volunteer of the Year in 2009. Beyond that, she has been honored with the 2009 Duquesne Light African American Leadership Award for Education as well as a 2006 Women of Influence designation from the New Pittsburgh Courier. Mrs. Njie’s outstanding dedication to the Pittsburgh community was most recently recognized in 2015 when she received the University of Pittsburgh’s Volunteer Excellence Award. The award annually recognizes Pitt alumni who have enriched the lives of others through extraordinary efforts in the...

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What Can Schools Do To Foster College-Bound Culture?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in U can B | Comments Off on What Can Schools Do To Foster College-Bound Culture?

What Can Schools Do To Foster College-Bound Culture?

Much attention has been paid to the national graduation and dropout rates. However, those discussions ignore another population of students: those who graduate from high school, but are not prepared to succeed in postsecondary education or the workforce. According to a recent study by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute (EPI), nationally, the unemployment rate for those who recently earned a high school diploma or equivalent degree (ages 17-20) and are not enrolled in additional schooling is 18 percent. So, how can we work to increase the number of students that are pursuing a college degree? One solution is college-bound culture. Schools that focus on fostering this in their classrooms help build the expectation of postsecondary education for all students. Through extensive research, the Pathways to College Network has established six principles to guide the actions of educators for creating an environment that pushes students to pursue a college education. These principles are: Expect that all underserved students are capable of being prepared to enroll and succeed in college Provide a range of high-quality, college-preparatory tools for students and families Embrace social, cultural, and varied learning styles when developing the environment and activities at the school Involve leaders at all levels in establishing policies, programs, and practices Maintain sufficient financial and human resources for this mission Assess policy, programs, and practices regularly to determine their effectiveness These goals may seem idealistic, but with the right strategies, it possible for educators and school administrators at all schools to make them a reality. Focusing on how schools can help students succeed beyond high school is vital for creating a culture that promotes the value of a college education. And as you can imagine, the key ingredient for creating this culture is dedicated teachers and counselors. Here are some ways to get started: Counseling Office A school’s counseling office is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to encouraging students to think beyond high school and determine what it is they want to do in their career. Here are few ways guidance counselors can help: Hold conferences with students frequently, especially during 10th and 11th grade, to monitor future plans Become friendly with local admissions officers; invite them to come to your school Invite local college graduates to speak about their experiences Hold a Career Day or College Fair Send a newsletter to parents with useful college information Hold workshops for students on topics such as: writing essays, getting recommendations, preparing for tests, applying for financial aid College Decor Keep college top-of-mind for students by decorating hallways and classrooms with pennants, posters, and slogans that broadcast the ultimate goal of getting into college. Consider announcing upcoming college entrance exams and test-preparation classes with flyers in bathrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria. Career Development Programs For many children, half of the battle is figuring out what they want to do after they graduate. This happens when students are unable to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to a career. Consider starting an internship program or establishing after-school programs or activities that help students understand all of their options. This often falls on guidance counselors to organize. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Programs like U can B support career development through curriculum components that allow students to see what...

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Coffee With a Real Estate Expert

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Business, Business Advice, Christopher Evans, Coffee With, Coffee With on CBS, Dani Gundlach, Real Estate | Comments Off on Coffee With a Real Estate Expert

  Welcoming a seasoned Pittsburgh resident and veteran real estate agent, the Coffee With Show is excited to have Dani Gundlach on the show to talk about all of the reasons Pittsburgh is the place to live. Today on the Coffee With Show we are having Coffee With a Real estate Expert. Dani is the founder of INHABIT Pittsburgh, a real estate collective that uses an innovative cooperative approach to produce amazing results for their clients. Dani is time-after-time one of the most successful and accommodating real estate agents in Pittsburgh, having been recognized for her excellent service on multiple occasions. Dani has been working in Pittsburgh real estate for 15 years, and has been living in the East End for 20. After observing that the city and its real estate climate was quickly changing, Dani took the initiative to found a brokerage unique and innovative enough to keep up. Enter INHABIT Real Estate Collective. At INHABIT Real Estate Collective, Dani offers traditional realty services to homebuyers and sellers along with commercial and development accommodations. INHABIT Real Estate Collective’s team-based approach means that Dani has more power to innovate her business processes and accelerate results for the team’s clients. Dani has used her experience in realty and in Pittsburgh to redefine the capabilities of real estate, and her efforts have gained lots of attention. She’s been named a five-star real estate agent by Pittsburgh Magazine and Trulia. https://www.trulia.com/ In her spare time, Dani develops a weekly podcast, Houses and Hills. Houses and Hills is a weekly conversation with people who are making a mark on the Pittsburgh Landscape. They’re talking with Makers, Shapers, Collaborators, and Innovators about their work and life in the City of Bridges. Never miss an episode when you subscribe on iTunes. Look up Houses and Hills on Facebook or at http://www.housesandhills.net/ Learn more about why Pittsburgh’s real estate becomes more attractive every day by tuning in to this episode of Coffee...

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Coffee With Ron Alvarado

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Business Goals, Christopher Evans, Coffee With on CBS, Learning and Education | Comments Off on Coffee With Ron Alvarado

  Ron Alvarado Building Bridges for Business is excited to welcome Ron Alvarado onto the Coffee With show. Ron Alvarado is the president and founder of Novus Group, LLC, a Pittsburgh-based firm specializing in staffing and recruitment outsourcing. Novus Group, LLC offers professional recruitment services and staffing solutions for business sectors from energy to accounting. In 2013, Novus was ranked one of the Top 500 Hispanic Businesses in the U.S. by Hispanic Business Magazine (for the 3rd consecutive year). In September of 2014, the magazine named Novus the 24th fastest growing Hispanic owned company in the nation. In 2013, Novus was honored as one of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh Business Times (for the 2nd year in a row). Mr. Alvarado has a strong record of service for improving diversity and has extensive experience addressing the workforce needs of the region. He serves as the Chairman of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on the board of the Dollar Energy Fund. Mr. Alvarado’s workforce expertise found him serving on the Pennsylvanian Workforce Investment Board (WIB). The WIB is the Governor’s principal private sector policy advising resource on any workforce development issues. Mr. Alvarado was first appointed to the WIB in 2008 by Governor Rendell, then reappointed by Governor Corbett. Beyond his impressive service and dedication to improving our community, Mr. Alvarado has been recognized as the recipient of many awards. In 2013 he was awarded the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Vanguard Diversity Award. The Vanguard Diversity Award recognizes individuals and organizations who have demonstrate outstanding work towards promoting diversity and inclusion. Mr. Alvarado’s exceptional community service was also recognized when he received the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Hispanic Attorneys Committee 2015 “El Sol Award”. Watch the Coffee With exclusive interview with Mr. Alvarado, where he details his emergence and success within the staffing industry, as well as practical business lessons he’s learned along the way. From his incredible success with Novus to his dedication to improving our community, Mr. Alvarado brings exciting and inspiring experience to share with you on Coffee...

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Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in U can B | Comments Off on Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship

Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship

While not all students will want to pursue a career in business ownership, there are still so many benefits to teaching students about entrepreneurship early on. An entrepreneurial curriculum not only teaches students to start their own businesses, but also teaches them to think creatively and ambitiously. In turn, these valuable lessons empowers students to make decisions about their future. Here are five reasons why entrepreneurial skills are critical for students’ success: Free Thinking Teaching entrepreneurship to young students helps them gain self-confidence in their ideas and abilities by allowing them to brainstorm the solutions to problems they identify. When schools work entrepreneurship into their curriculum, students learn to try out their ideas and get to see a measurable outcome of their efforts. They also learn that failure happens, and that’s okay. The Ability to Succeed in an Uncertain World The job market and economy that students will enter is hard to predict, but we know that students will need skills that will allow them to navigate uncertainty. An entrepreneurial education equips students to take risks, problem-solve, think creatively, accept and grow from failure, empathize with others, and understand the correlation between hard work and success. Overall, this is an incredible stepping stone to learning independence. Entrepreneurship Promote Social Values Students who learn about entrepreneurship learn about what it means to be a good citizen. Learning about entrepreneurship is just as much about learning to be fiscally independent as it is about learning to help others and how to take success in stride. Students with entrepreneurship education enter the world with the mentality that identifying solutions to existing problems can help make the world a better place. Entrepreneurial education holds great value for all of our students. Teaching children about entrepreneurship helps foster confidence, creativity, and independence. It gives students a chance to stand on their own merit while teaching them the type of money management and organizational skills that lead to being a productive member of society, whether or not they decide to start their own business in the long run. The future belongs to innovators, and entrepreneurship education is the incubator for the types of creative ideas our world needs. The U can B Program seeks to put entrepreneurship at the front of students’ learning. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople, along with the non-profit organization Building Bridges for Business, are giving local students the chance to see what life is like after high school and college. Learn more about the U can B program’s dedication to helping students think about life after high school...

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Breaking News – Strategic Partnership

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Dr Chekan, Education Foundation, Frank Orga, Partnership, Propel | Comments Off on Breaking News – Strategic Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Strategic Partnership Pittsburgh-Based Education Non-Profits Collaborate Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-February 8th, 2017 The Education Foundation is proud to announce its partnership and collaboration with Building Bridges for Business (U•Can•B). With financial backing from The Education Foundation through generous sponsors and donors, U•Can•B is able and willing to bring workforce development and college readiness courses and curricula to the classrooms. Providing educational and informational courses to teenagers is the best way to expose the students to possible career options available before he or she spends time, money, and energy pursuing the wrong vocation for him or her. These non-profits have many years of experience in the educational and academic fields. From their inceptions, they have been reaching out to scholars from ages 12-18+ by providing scholarships and teaching programs. Through this collaboration, the two non-profit 501(c)3 organizations are able reach the youth in a variety of ways. You can find out more and how to contribute to their cause by visiting www.educationfdn.org and http://buildingbridgesforbusiness.org/u-can-b-program/ “We are excited to work with U•Can•B and the Building Bridges for Business organization and to expand our efforts and believe in the power of collaboration. Students can expand on their formal classroom learning by taking courses in entrepreneurship, science and technology, green and sustainable science, and a variety of trades,” said Frank Orga, President of The Education Foundation. “We are very pleased to be working with the Education Foundation. They understand that their success is directly connected to the success of the communities, organizations, and families and students in the region,” said Linda Handley, Founder of U•Can•B. Dr. Tina Chekan, Superintendent/CEO of Propel Schools, added, “We are grateful for the wonderful programming U•Can•B provides to our students. These educational experiences that bring technology professionals to our schools add to the ways that Propel redefines school each day. We thank The Education Foundation for providing the funding for this program. Propel believes that community partnerships, combined with excellence in academics, will lead to great outcomes for our students.” Entrepreneurs and businesspeople, along with the non-profit organization Building Bridges for Business, are giving local students the chance to see what life is like after high school and college. The U•Can•B program and curriculum is tailored to meet each school’s needs and includes a variety of life learning courses like entrepreneurship, website design and SEO, graphic design and animation, career preparation and networking, and green and sustainable practices and careers. The program further engages the students with our proprietary “Coffee With…” film series that showcases industry leaders and politicians with a variety of insight in those careers. The program is augmented by in person speakers and experts that share real world experiences and advice in career development and planning. For more information about U•Can•B and the Building Bridges initiative, please visit their website at http://buildingbridgesforbusiness.org or send an email to info@BuildingBridgesforBusiness.org. Building Bridges/U•Can•B is located at 1526 Rhine Street in Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Contact for more details: Frank Orga, President of The Education Foundation P. O. Box 153 Glenshaw, PA 15116 forga@educationfdn.org (412) 952-1953   Linda Handley, Founder & CEO of U•Can•B 1526 Rhine Street Pittsburgh, PA 15212 handleyl@buildingbridgesforbusiness.org (412)...

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3 Tips for Sparking Engagement in the Classroom

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 in U can B | Comments Off on 3 Tips for Sparking Engagement in the Classroom

3 Tips for Sparking Engagement in the Classroom

There’s a big difference between students who sit passively in a lecture and students who are actively engaged. Active engagement helps stave off the decay of information in students and helps empower them to take control of their education. So, what can educators to do help encourage a classroom full of engaged students? Here are three tips: 1. Present Information in Multiple Formats Not all students learn in the same ways. Classrooms are full of diverse students that benefit from different teaching techniques. Learning styles are most often divided into three basic groups. There are the auditory learners, visual learners and kinesthetic or tactile learners. Teachers that work to incorporate various methods into their teaching are able to reach the majority of students. Ultimately, catering to every student’s unique learning style helps keep them engaged in the classroom. Students are more likely to feel excited about learning if the information being presented is easily digested. 2. Give Students Choices Choice empowers students and makes them feel like they have control over their own education. By allowing students to set their own pace, they’ll feel more motivated and challenged. Often this means teachers splitting up their classrooms so that more advanced students can work on new concepts. Not only does this keep students from getting bored, it also allows teachers to focus personalized attention on those who need it. Even something as small as letting learners choose their own starting point on specific assignments gives students the feeling that they have more choice and independence. 3. Connect Curriculum to the Real World One key way to involve students in their learning is to ensure that the material being taught speaks to them. A vital piece of this is making sure students understand how the material they’re learning in the classroom applies in real life. For example, one way to do this is by demonstrating how students can apply the math concepts they are learning to help them manage personal finances. Schools can also help students feel more engaged in their learning by showing them how the information they’re learning leads to specific careers. This helps students see a clear path to success later on in life, thus motivating in the present. Schools that are focused on engagement in the classroom are building a solid foundation for the success of their students. This success extends from the classroom and into students’ future careers. Programs like U can B are working to increase engagement in the classroom by providing classes that give students a chance to see what life is like after high school and college. Click here to learn more about the U can B...

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