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.


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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Workforce Wednesday Webinars begin Feb 8, 2017

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Distance Learning, How to find a job, Job Seekers, Networking 101, Rap Sheet Cleanup, webinars | Comments Off on Workforce Wednesday Webinars begin Feb 8, 2017

Workforce Wednesdays                 Link to Register This workshop will provide job seekers and career counselors tips for building contact lists, using social media and creating a branded message that will help generate better job leads. Very practical and applicable information. Participants will leave this webinar with actual tools and strategies that can be put to use same day! After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training. Please register for Rap Sheet Cleanup on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST at: approximately 75% of criminal records contain errors. Almost every employer in the country is running a background check as part of the hiring process. Don’t you want to make certain your info is accurate? A must for any job seeker with a criminal record! This session will teach participants to obtain and interpret a criminal record, file for expungement and make corrections. A critical first step in the job search process for anybody facing this barrier. Includes an Intro to the Pardon process is included! After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training. Please register for LinkedIn for Job Seekers on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST at: approximately 90% of recruiters are reviewing a candidate’s LinkedIn Profile. But, the profile is not the website’s only useful feature. LinkedIn allows job seekers to easily connect with previous co-workers & classmates, LinkedIn features Job Search & Application sections, LinkedIn facilitates group discussions related to career advancement, and there is much much more!. Sign up today to learn how to utilize ALL of LinkedIn’s unique job searching tools! After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the...

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German Dual Apprenticeship Program

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 in GACCPIT, German American Chamber, German Dual Apprenticeship Program | Comments Off on German Dual Apprenticeship Program

  Join us at the Energy Innovation Center for the Annual Ice Gala! On January 28, 2017, we will hold our annual Ice Gala at the Energy Innovation Center. The Ice Gala is the Signature Event of 2017 for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce with high visibility and a C-level audience. You can expect music, an alpine-themed “Ice Room” that will include Ice Sculptures, Glühwein, and more, VIP speakers, great food, a silent auction and a knock-out view of the city. The event will be held at the Energy Innovation Center*. Saturday. January 28, 2017 VIP Reception: 5-6 pm Gala: 6-10 pm Proceeds benefit our apprenticeship initiative. What is the apprenticeship Initiative? In a world of high youth unemployment, where the supply of skilled labor often fails to match employer demand, Germany believes help can be found in its Dual Vocational Training System —a time-tested economic model. This program, many supporters believe, is the reason why Germany has the lowest jobless rate among young people of any industrialized nation in the world—around 7 percent or 8 percent. With so many Americans struggling to find employment after graduating high school and college it might be worth asking: Can the German approach be brought to the U.S.? The German concept is simple: After students complete their mandatory years of schooling, usually around age 18, they apply to a private company for a two or three year training contract. If accepted, the government supplements the trainee’s on-the-job learning with more broad-based education in his or her field of choice at a publicly funded vocational school. Usually, trainees spend three to four days at work and one to two in the classroom. At the end, the theory goes, they come out with both practical and technical skills to compete in a global market, along with a good overall perspective on the nature of their profession. They also receive a state certificate for passing company exams, designed and administered by industry groups—a credential that allows transfer to similarly oriented businesses should the training company not retain them beyond the initial...

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Give the Gift of Education

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in U can B | Comments Off on Give the Gift of Education

Give the Gift of Education

For children everywhere, education is the best hope for a bright future. Education impacts every aspect of children’s lives, as it is the means by which they develop as individuals and come to understand our world, affording them with opportunities to forge their own future. Education level is directly linked to income and job security, and also correlates with health, mental well-being, civic engagement, and more. If you want to use your time or money to help provide children with education and a bright future this year, here are a few options: School Supplies For millions of children whose families struggle financially, school supplies can be hard to come by. To help ensure these children have the tools they need to learn as well as the confidence they need to thrive, World Vision provides school essentials throughout the year to students in need. You can help give the gift of education by providing basic school supplies, such as backpacks, pencils, notebooks, crayons, and more. Art The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity and offer career opportunities, the skills they learn can also lead to academic achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that students who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) supports the arts by sponsoring art programs, exhibitions, and festivals for children and of children’s artwork. They also have a healing arts program that uses art to help children recover from disasters. Reading Studies show that literacy in young children must be supported by a print-rich environment. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and implements literacy programs to develop the critical, early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life. Career Development For many children, half of the battle is figuring out what they want to do after they graduate. Do you own a business? Consider offering an internship or sponsoring an after-school program or activity. Additionally, programs like U can B support career development through curriculum components that allow students to see what life is like after high school and college. You can donate to support career development here. Giving the gift of education is one that can last a lifetime, providing a child with the tools to succeed into adulthood. Your money or time could be the difference in a child’s ability to access powerful learning...

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Educational Webinars

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in Blended Learning, Business Goals, Business Plan, Business Technology, Distance Learning, Education, EDUCATION online, Employee Motivation, Professional Development, Training for Employees | Comments Off on Educational Webinars

Steps To Empowering Your Business Growth Creating business growth takes consistent planning and strategy. Educational webinars are a great source of information and can help you and your business grow.  This can be achieved through business education, regular professional business development and presentations of business events. Check out these top 5 resources for Educational WEBINARs: Education For Business Sake Business education doesn’t end with an MBA. Education should be accepted as a lifelong opportunity for focusing on business trends and curves. By maintaining an attitude of continuous education, opportunities to seek out the most advantageous additional courses provide the extra edge for business growth. Professional Development Along with additional education enhancements, professional business development ranks among the necessary elements for business growth. Professional development requires marketing, sales, management, staffing and executive skills. Achieving the rank of professional isn’t just a matter of title. Development at each phase of business determines the quality of professionalism of the individual. Business Events That Affect Business Growth The business professional seeking optimum business growth employs a give and take attitude toward events that help their businesses. It’s as important to present an event as it is to take part in events. This is the basic structure of networking. Surrounding your business with a beneficial network helps grow business stature. To Grow Your Business Today’s webinars and seminars fill a particular gap that links direct offline events and business presentations with the internet world. For businesses, this is an unparalleled opportunity for growth. The hi-tech world can be a catalyst for advancing business image as well as name recognition, branding and ranking. Creating linked business webinars and seminars produces a well-structured microcosm of vested target markets. The links between webinars and seminars should be seamlessly woven to create an overlapping flow of interest and awareness of the specific business. This is also true for patrons attending webinars and seminars. Thus, the “give and take” attitude becomes the operative for giving patrons a direct link online and off while the business takes in a higher rate of growth. Educate, Develop, Grow Present webinars and seminars with a professional style and content. Contrast this by attending webinars and seminars that focus on educating, developing and growing your business. These may contain new ideas for management structure, creating cohesive team embodiment and financial and economic guidelines as well as current compliance regulations relating to business operations. A tightly knit program of webinars and seminars for patrons and businesses offering them are essential for business...

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The Alcoa Foundation and U can B

Posted by on Nov 6, 2016 in Alcoa, Skills Gap, STEM, Success, The Alcoa Foundation | Comments Off on The Alcoa Foundation and U can B

Pittsburgh’s own Alcoa is a proud partner of our U can B program. Alcoa is a longtime supporter of education and diversity in the world marketplace – through the Alcoa Foundation, thousands of nonprofits, schools, and organizations have been able spearhead sustainable, educational, and career-building initiatives. Alcoa’s partnership with Building Bridges expands the U can B program into more schools in the Pittsburgh region, most recently being Freeport Area School District. For over 60 years, Alcoa Foundation has been a champion of supporting nonprofit organizations worldwide. Alcoa Foundation attentively supports sustainability, STEM, innovation, communities, and students on a daily basis. Funding provided by Alcoa Foundation supports leading nonprofit education and environmental organizations, building strong long-term partnerships that produce meaningful and impactful results. Recognizing the ever-growing challenges of tomorrow, Alcoa Foundation directly supports initiatives that produce an innovative and competitive workforce. At the end of the day, all of the funding decisions that Alcoa Foundation makes are driven by two imperatives: environment and education. The Alcoa Foundation has a vibrant history of supporting STEM education programs, helping thousands of students every year. Our global economy and marketplace is constantly evolving. To prepare the communities where Alcoa operates for the world to come, the Alcoa Foundation focuses on projects that increase the number of students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies. Seeking to promote a more diverse workforce, Alcoa Foundation places emphasis on engaging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups to enter into science and technology fields. Some of Alcoa Foundation’s several STEM initiatives include Junior Achievement, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Society for Science and the Public, and US 2020. US2020 and Alcoa Foundation aim to bolster the STEM movement by working together to create an online mentoring program to reach 20,000 students and professionals. In line with Alcoa Foundation’s spirit of promoting innovation and education is their current support of U can B. By partnering with nonprofits like Building Bridges, Alcoa Foundation continues to contribute to economic success, environmental excellent and social responsibility worldwide. See the positive change that Alcoa Foundation enables by looking at their website....

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Wanted — a Skills Gap Solution

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Blended Learning, Skills Gap, Trade education, Training for Employees | Comments Off on Wanted — a Skills Gap Solution

Wanted: A Skills Gap Solution Stevie Miller The formula for career success was supposed to be simple: go to college, get a bachelor’s degree, and find a job doing what you love that pays a decent living. As our newest generations of college graduates have discovered, the reality isn’t quite so simple. While more and more college educated employees are available, fewer employers want to hire them. Underemployment, that is, either working part time when you want to work full time, or working at a job that doesn’t utilize your education and training, is a persistent problem that has outlasted our recession-inspired unemployment. PayScale reports in a recent study [1] that 46% of American workers identify as underemployed. The problem is caused by what’s known as the skills gap. Despite a large number of people who would like to find more or better work, industries that require skilled workers–but not necessarily the kind of education you get with a bachelor’s degree–are coming up short. The skills gap is most evident in STEM fields, or industries requiring the use of technology, including healthcare, computer science, and especially manufacturing. It’s difficult to find the right employees for these fields, observes the Harvard Business Review [2], because the technology is changing so quickly that many schools don’t offer the right training. Soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, are in increasing demand by employers, but also aren’t offered in schools, particularly because they require one-on-one efforts with students. Employers, meanwhile, increasingly expect prospective employees to shoulder the burdens of training themselves, the US Department of Labor reports. [3] Yet prospective employees are reluctant to take on this training when the technology is changing so quickly that the skills required by one employer are unlikely to translate to the next job opening. Jeff Selingo, author of New York Times bestseller “There is Life After College”, notes: “The goal of universal college has actually done more harm than good because it banished anything that smacks of job training to second class status.” He further writes: “We need more than just one pathway to good jobs in the U.S. What we need is a place like Harvard–both prestigious and rigorous–that will attract students who have talents and interests to pursue skilled jobs critical for the economy that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree.” [4] 1: 2: 3: 4:...

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U can B – curriculum

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Aziksa, Blended Learning, Career Education for High School Students, Distance Learning, Online Content Management, Online Videos, Skills Gap, Youth Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on U can B – curriculum

At the center of Building Bridges for Business’s U can B Program is the mission to provide essential skills and programs to high schoolers, offering coursework and experience that enhances students understanding, their skillsets, and their preparedness for life after high school. An exciting partnership was formed between Aziksa, Inc. and U can B to provide access to Life Learning Courses for high school students in the Pittsburgh region. Aziksa is a cloud-based learning platform that allows students to take courses online, and use curriculum easily and inexpensively – they can take advantage of courses in entrepreneurship, science and technology, green and sustainable science, and a variety of trades. Earlier this year, Aziksa, Inc. established a multi-year contract with U can B to provide a blended learning system that expands students’ access to courses. Available online and on mobile devices, the Aziksa online platform ( is easily accessible. Beyond that, the courses provided through Aziksa are deliberately curated to maximize teacher-student interaction through tools Virtual Classroom and Virtual Lab. “We are committed to offering easy to use classes to young people and this partnership will allow more students to take advantage of the U can B offerings,” said Aziksa President and CEO Santosh Jha. With this blended learning program, students can sign-up online and participate in the courses from their homes or on the go all the while still taking advantage of the benefits of interacting with fellow learners and their instructors. U can B’s reach is amplified by innovative services like Aziksa, now able to provide affordable and accessible educational material to a larger range of Pittsburgh students. “We are very pleased to be working with Aziksa. They really understand how best to deliver online learning in today’s world and I know students will benefit from the increased interaction” comments Linda Handley, U can B. The curriculum offered through U can B connects students with entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and nonprofits like Building Bridges, and engages them with the professional experiences of life after high school and college. U can B promotes student development and exposes young people to essential life learning courses, offering curriculum built to best fit a school’s needs. Courses provided through U can B cover themes such as entrepreneurship, web design and SEO, graphic design and animation, veterinary study and animal related careers, sustainability and environmental issues, green technology, and career preparation and networking education. Beyond engaging students with excellent curriculum, U can B also incorporates their proprietary Coffee With film series, a program that showcases industry leaders, politicians, and entrepreneurs sharing their stories and insights from their careers. Partnered with Aziksa, U can B is now accessible to more students than ever. More information about the U can B program is available at the Building Bridges website. Learn more about Aziksa, Inc....

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Coffee With Kelly Collier

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Career Education for High School Students, Christopher Evans, Coffee With, Coffee With on CBS, Coffee With TM on CBS, Kelly Collier, Learning | Comments Off on Coffee With Kelly Collier

  Pittsburgh has an abundance of talented entrepreneurs and innovative startups. Joining us today on Coffee With is Kelly Collier, founder and CEO of ActivAided Orthotics, a medical device startup that produces flexible, supportive posture-correcting clothing. ActivAided has revolutionized the traditional medical brace into a product that allows for non-restrictive therapy, providing impressive support and rehabilitation without sacrificing flexibility or comfort. Collier launched the company from the ground up, their product initially developed for her senior project at Carnegie Mellon. ActivAided first saw development in the form of a class project for Collier, a then Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering student at CMU. An avid swimmer, Collier’s back pain problems became the catalyst for the project which was developed by a physician Dr. Gary Chimes, Collier and her peers as a senior project at Carnegie Mellon University. Unlike her classmates, Collier gave herself additional homework when she incorporated the assignment into a post-graduate business. Since founding ActivAvided Orthotics, Collier has become a specialist in commercializable product development and has expertise in all stages of the process. Whether it be design, manufacturing, scalability, or distribution, Collier possesses the business prowess to efficiently tackle any aspect of business growth and operations. Collier’s efforts enabled her to collect honors as the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Western Pennsylvania Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Kevin White, Pittsburgh SBA district director, commented that Collier is an entrepreneur who identified the solution to a problem. He said, “Her back problems led her to turn this project into a business that helps correct posture in a non-restrictive form.” Collier’s transformation from student to entrepreneur is characteristic of the incredibly innovative business environment in Pittsburgh. Want to learn more about the origins, development, and lessons learned from ActivAided? Tune into this episode of Coffee With. Since this blog post and video the company was acquired by...

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Coffee With the Beauty Shoppe

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Beauty Shoppe, Christopher Evans, Coffee With, Coffee With on CBS, East Liberty, Education, Pittsburgh IT community, Rabih Helou | Comments Off on Coffee With the Beauty Shoppe

This episode of Coffee With features a relatively new member to the Pittsburgh community (moved here in 2009) who has already made a big impact in their time here. Rabih Helou is co-founder of The Beauty Shoppe, a collaborative workspace found in two locations in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty community. The Beauty Shoppe is an innovative new way for businesses and entrepreneurs to work – they provide comfortable spaces and all of the technical services an individual or business needs to run effectively. They provide the basics so that businesses can focus on what’s important. Helou is obsessed with making businesses serve the social good. His experience as a former consultant and business owner have inspired him to create an organization that serves the needs of small businesses and professionals. The Beauty Shoppe revolutionizes the way people work – shifting the dynamic and culture from the skyscraper to the street-side venue. This “breaking-down” of walls and development of a flexible and comfortable space is what has made The Beauty Shoppe’s impact so impressive – they have grown to serve over 100 different individuals or business. Before his involvement at The Beauty Shoppe, Mr. Helou directed server multi-million dollar business operations, including international development projects for the U.S. Department of State. He also served as head of Middle East operations for a Strategy Consulting firm in NYC, a $25 million multi-year initiative for the fastest growing mobile operator in the Middle East and North Africa. Mr. Helou has spent over 15 years consulting to an incredible range of businesses in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, spanning US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. He earned his PhD in Social Markets from University of Maryland. The Beauty Shoppe offers top-of-the-line infrastructure to meet the needs of organizations and individuals alike. Learn more about the awesome history behind The Beauty Shoppe by tuning into this episode of Coffee...

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