U can B

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 Info@BuildingBridgesforBusiness.org 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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U Can B – At Pittsburgh Perry High School

»Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, U can B | Comments Off on U Can B – At Pittsburgh Perry High School

U can B School Year 2015-16 Building Bridges for Business brought Career Day back to more than a dozen local schools this year via the U can B Career Awareness Program. Our feature school is Pittsburgh Perry High School. U can B also had the opportunity to participate in many wonderful community events. Here are some of our favorite moments! Thanks to all of our schools, employers, community partners, and students for making this year a wonderful school year! Perry High School Perry High School began in October of 2015 with a visit from a representative of Amazon Corporation. Employer visits, career overviews, and job search opportunities became the theme of the U can B Program at Perry High School, which ran from October of 2015 until April of 2016! A Representative of Presidents Obama’s STEM initiative visited the “Ladies of Perry” in October and the students discussed the importance of learning, education, and ways to get into STEM related careers. The students thoroughly enjoyed the day and said, “this is the best speaker I ever heard.” In addition to U can B staff, many Pittsburgh-area businesses and organizations sent representatives to visit with 10th graders at Perry High. These included Bidwell Training Center, Amazon, and Rosedale Technical College. On the evening of March 15, 2016, U can B organized a Career Opportunity Fair at Perry High. This event was open to both students and parents. Students had the opportunity to apply for jobs and/or discuss future career possibilities with employers; parents were invited to seek employment as well. Participating companies and organizations included The City of Pittsburgh, Arts Greenhouse, United States Probation & Pretrial Services of Western PA, Atlas Dreams Languages, LogixGuru, Allegheny Health Network, First National Bank, Bidwell Training Center, PNC Bank, Legal Shield, CCAC, Job Corps, and UPS. U can B hosted a second Career Opportunity Fair on the morning of April 20th. This event was only made available to Perry High School juniors and seniors who were seeking employment. Participating companies and organizations included Rosedale Technical College, Made Right Here, The Priory Hotel, US Army, Allegheny Health Network, IBEX Global, The City of Pittsburgh, Moriarty Consultants, First National Bank, and Career Talk on KDKA. The Perry High School U can B Program will continue in...

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Filling Gaps in the US Education System

»Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Career Education for High School Students, Education, Learning and Education, U can B | Comments Off on Filling Gaps in the US Education System

The fact that there are problems with the US education system is well known. Unfortunately, several of these issues are having very negative effects on the quality of the education our students are receiving. American students’ latest scores on the PISA (Programme of International Student Assessment), the international test taken by 15 year-olds around the world, show just how bad these problems are. Depending on the subject, American students are average or slightly below average compared to their international peers — ranking 17th in reading, 26th in math, and 21st in science. What’s wrong with the current education system? Here are two of the reasons: Students Don’t Have the Right Skills The US Education Department recently reported that the high school graduation rate is at an all-time high at 82 percent. However, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the largest standardized test administered in the United States, less than 40 percent of high school seniors in America have sufficient academic skills in math and reading to pass entry-level college courses. Additionally, a study released by the Education Trust concluded that “rather than ensuring students have access to a cohesive curriculum that aligns high school coursework and students’ future goals, high schools are prioritizing credit accrual, which treats graduation as the end goal.” Students Aren’t Exposed to Career Options Not only do students lack the skills to succeed after high school, they also aren’t given the necessary exposure to all of the options that exist after graduation, whether it be college or a technical trade. While high school students shouldn’t necessarily nail down a specific career path, they should be exploring their interests and personality in order to develop a general idea. That way, when the time comes to pick a career path, they can choose something relevant and fulfilling. If we want students to be prepared for highly skilled jobs in the foreseeable future, it is essential that they are able to explore the possibilities before they graduate. Without these opportunities, students will be left feeling aimless. To prepare students for the future, we must empower them with the skills that help foster success after graduation. Programs like U can B are dedicated to assisting in the mission for improved education. U can B uses the real-world expertise of entrepreneurs and businesspeople to give students the chance to see what life is like after high school and college. The U can B Curriculum is tailored to meet each individual school’s needs, which means each curriculum component can be expanded or contracted to fit within a specific number of weeks based on the strengths and weaknesses of the class. In order to best prepare students for the future, the U can B curriculum includes Entrepreneurship, Networking, Careers in the Trades, Technology, Film, Television, Science, and more. The statistics don’t lie, change is needed in the US education system. If we work together, we can give students the tools to become the innovators of tomorrow....

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U can B Career Days on the Northside

»Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Blended Learning, Pittsburgh, Professional Development, Resources in the Region, STEM, Success, Trade education, Training for Employees, U can B, Youth Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on U can B Career Days on the Northside

  U can B @ Clayton High School will conclude in May with ‘Career Days at Clayton High’! Career Days will begin with an Interview Competition on May 1th. This will be followed by an in-school Career Fair on May 20th. The Building Bridges for Business U can B Program, a series of career awareness classes aimed at high school and middle school students, launched its first classes at Clayton Academy in Pittsburgh’s North Side on March 2, 2016. U can B classes at Clayton were provided through support of the Verizon Foundation. Topics for middle and high school students ranged from Career Interests to STEM-related Careers to Job Readiness Classes. Students in the middle school were registered for FREE online career profiles via STEM Premier. Students in the high school at Clayton focused specifically on topics such as Work Readiness, Job Search, Interview Skills, and Networking in preparation for Career Days. May 11th Interview Day Students are currently working on resumes and cover letters as a class project. These will be completed and reviewed by Clayton teachers prior to the Interview Day. On May 11th, students will participate in a panel style interview. U can B teachers, Clayton staff, and volunteers from the community will make up three panels. Students will cycle through for individual interviews. A scoring rubric will be used by the panelists to assess students’ interview performance. Three Awards will be selected: Best Interview, Best Resume, Best Cover Letter. Certificates and prizes will be presented to the winners. Certificates of Participation are to be presented to all students who completed the U can B Program. Winners to be announced at the May 20th Career Fair. May 20th Career Fair The U can B team has organized a Career Fair which will take place at Clayton on May 20th between 10:00-12:00. The Fair will be followed by a cookout and celebration. Students, teachers, U can B staff, employers, and volunteers are invited to attend the cookout. Approximately 65 students are expected. Awards will be presented during the cookout and celebration. The Career Fair and Cookout will be a wonderful way to conclude the school year. Students have put a lot of time and effort into the U can B Program at Clayton, and the May 20th event is their reward for that hard work. In addition to the celebration, students will have the opportunity to discuss jobs and careers with representatives from several Pittsburgh-area businesses including but not limited to United States Probation & Pretrial Services of Western PA, Allegheny Health Network, IBEX Global, Career Talk on KDKA, Legal Shield, and Arias Agencies. Arias Agencies, a division of American Income Life, has agreed to participate and present certificates of completion to the students. Title sponsor of Career Talk on KDKA, Arias Agencies has been an on-going supporter and hiring partner of the...

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