Career Education for High School Students

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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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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How Can Schools Engage Students?

»Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Career Education for High School Students, U can B | Comments Off on How Can Schools Engage Students?

For too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to success later on in life. In fact, a 2012 Gallup Student Poll indicated that student engagement during high school is at a critically low level. The survey, which asks students how involved and enthusiastic they feel about school, reported that while nearly 80% of elementary school students feel engaged, only 44% of high school students feel that way. So, how can we keep students engaged throughout high school? The answer is a curriculum that connects the classroom to careers.  STEM Curriculum Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers—especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). When students understand that rewarding careers exist beyond the classroom, they are more likely to feel motivated to engage in their studies. Using a variety of activity-based learning models, schools can provide students with opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills and creativity. An integrated STEM curriculum provides equity among students from all backgrounds, empowering them to find their passion and look beyond high school and into the future. Career and Technical Education Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses help develop students’ noncognitive skills such as problem-solving, communication, time management, and critical thinking skills. By providing students with CTE courses, schools help prevent dropouts because the curriculum offers practical applications of knowledge through authentic tasks that allow students to see the relevancy of their instruction. Because the lessons are more practical and hands-on, students feel more engaged. Ultimately, CTE curriculum connects the knowledge that students are gaining in the classroom to the future by helping them understand how that knowledge helps them obtain a career they’ll find interesting and rewarding. Preparing students for success later on in life requires a different approach to the educational experience than it did in the past. Too many of America’s students are not meaningfully engaged or motivated in their academic experience while in high school. By providing kids with opportunities to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to the future, schools can inspire students to take control of their education and find success as adults. Programs like U can B are working to re-engage students in the classroom by providing classes that give students a chance to see what life is like after high school and college. The U can B Curriculum is tailored to meet any school’s needs, and includes classes on topics such as entrepreneurship, careers in the trades, careers in IT, careers in healthcare, career preparation, leadership, and more. Contact us at or click here to learn more about the U can B...

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Why Aren’t College-Ready Students Enrolling in College?

»Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Career Education for High School Students, Learning and Education, U can B | Comments Off on Why Aren’t College-Ready Students Enrolling in College?

A new report from ACT has found that 20 percent of students who are likely well-prepared for their first year of college are not actually enrolling. Additionally, results from a multi-year College and Career Readiness survey of 165,000 high school students conducted by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, found that only 45 percent of students feel positive about their college and career readiness. What’s The Problem? According to the same YouthTruth survey, an overwhelming 87 percent of students want to eventually earn a college degree and land a career, but many believe that their schools aren’t helping them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed after graduation. To make matters worse, as a result of being unprepared, approximately one in four students who enter college the fall after high school graduation enroll in remedial coursework during their first year of college. The aggregate additional, direct college expenses these half million students and families had to pay out of pocket for remedial coursework in the first year in 2011-12 was an astounding $1.5 billion. The problem is deeply rooted in the curriculum at many schools across the United States. Graduation is treated as the ultimate goal, which ignores preparing students to reach their future goals. In support of this idea, many schools aren’t encouraging students to challenge themselves and are not helping students find their passion. Instead, schools opt for a random combination of career-prep courses — which ranges from computers and engineering to trade courses in fields such as construction or manufacturing — rather than a series of courses aligned with a particular career field. What Can Be Done? All of these reports support the idea that schools need to reflect on their school’s structure, culture, and instruction, and how those elements influence exposure to rigorous, engaging, and relevant coursework that prepares students for success after high school in various college and career paths. This is especially important as young people need more skills than ever before in order to succeed in today’s knowledge-based economy. Graduating more confident high-school graduates is not an unattainable goal. Research shows that students support this change. In fact, nearly nine out 10 of all recent high school graduates said they would have worked harder if their high schools had demanded more, set higher academic standards, and raised expectations of the coursework and studying necessary to earn a diploma. Programs like U can B are helping schools make this a reality. By providing students with the skills they need to succeed after high school and empowering them to pursue a career that they feel passionate about, U can B is working to close the gaps between college-readiness, college enrollment, and career success. Ultimately, schools that place their students’ futures at the top of their priority list instead of graduation rates are investing in the world’s...

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3 Ways to Foster Learning During the Summer

»Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Career Education for High School Students, Learning and Education, U can B, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Ways to Foster Learning During the Summer

According to the U.S. Department of Education, children can experience a learning loss equivalent to two months of math and reading skills during the summer months. More than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can possibly be explained by an unequal access of the children to summer learning opportunities. The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games. However, just because it is summer vacation doesn’t mean students’ brains need to take a vacation. “You don’t want your kids to think that learning is only something that happens in places called schools,” says Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. With some planning, the summer can be the best time for learning and building new skills. Here are a few ways to make the most out of the summer. 1. Webinars Geographic distances between learning institutions and students can often create a barrier for learning during the summer. With webinars, students get access to virtual classes from anywhere. Another great thing about webinars is that you can find ones on just about any topic. This means that students can learn more about the things that interest them, which makes learning during the summer feel like less of a chore. For students that are starting to look beyond high school, summer is also the perfect time to begin career development. This July, U can B is offering a number of work-related webinars that cover the following topics: Networking Using Social Media for Job Searching Using Linkedin for Job Hunting How to Create a Professional Online Brand 2. Reading Programs Reading is a great way to keep students’ minds active during the summer months. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on books. Instead, find out if your public library is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Public libraries in participating states purchase posters, reading logs, bookmarks, certificates and a variety of reading incentives that help engage kids and get them excited about reading. 3. Start a Garden A fun way to foster students’ education and personal development during the summer is through gardening. Not only does gardening help create generations of kids connected to their food, community, and planet, but it also develops valuable skills such as planning, math, and science. Check out the Kids Gardening website for lots of great ideas and resources on how to get started. There are plenty of ways to ensure students’ minds don’t go into hibernation this summer. Learning does not have to be a seasonal event; with the right methods, students can be excited about learning year round! Plan ahead and take advantage of technology as well as free programs that make learning...

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