New Castle News

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February 23, 2013

Educational Options: With energy in our future, college isn’t for everyone

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — STARTING EARLY

Introductions to opportunities can start as early as seventh grade, explained Amy Lutz and Camille Pia, counselors at Mohawk Junior/Senior High School. That’s when speakers from various industries address students on career choices.

There have been changes in the student pathway to offer more technical programs, Pia said, adding, “You don’t necessarily need to pursue college to get a good-paying job, although some parents may have difficulties changing their mindset about college.”

Lutz pointed out that, in most cases, students require some type of post-secondary training or certified programs for areas such as manufacturing, welding and equipment operation.

“These don’t require a four-year degree and more jobs are available resulting in less student loan debt,” she acknowledged.

“In a time when some schools are getting rid of technical programs, we’ve chosen to sustain ours,” she continued. “As well pads pop up in our back yards, student interest is becoming more prevalent.”

At the School to Work program, Pia said she learned from Ruff the types of jobs in the shale industry, adding it solidified her belief that there must be a higher proficiency in math.

“As a counselor, we can be prepared to guide them on where to look for employment opportunities.”

Shenango’s Career Cafe has been in place for eighth-graders to hear representatives from different fields.

According to Deanna Othities, school counselor, a geologist from Marcellus Shale was to address the group this month.

In April, a program based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM will be presented to introduce students to these options.

“We try to explore these other areas as much as possible.”

GETTING THE WORD OUT

Michele McClelland, a counselor at Laurel Junior/Senior High, said great attention is paid to local business and industry trends.

Updates from companies provide resources to pass on to students, she said, and to keep up with those trends, the curriculum is constantly adapted. For example, physics classes incorporate environmental issues and the vocational-agricultural program provides skills such as welding and electricity.

“It has expanded because of more students’ interest.”

The counselor emphasized that every student needs more than a high school diploma.

“We see apprenticements to four-year college programs to everything in between.”

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