Within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the road to job success starts early.
“We want our student to be planning and thinking about their career choices, right from the get-go.” says Chris Scarcella, principal at Max Hayes High School. Five of the district’s high schools, known as the “Academies of Cleveland”, focus on specific career pathways for students to choose from. And that means they make a career choice before they ever step on to school grounds.
Katrina Myers, Director, Academies of Cleveland High Schools details how they get kids started in the program.
“So as freshman they get to come in, and have this experience, where they get to meet professionals, who are working in the career pathways they have expressed an interest, in an effort to finalize or fine tune their goals in terms of what it is they want to accomplish”. Part of that experience a career fair recently held at Max Hayes High School and the East Professional Center, where students have just a few hours to ask questions and form relationships with representatives from the Cleveland Police Department, Arcelor Mittal, and even the Cleveland Clinic.
“We have students here who actually have internships currently, and the companies love them. So they not only get the opportunities to work on the vehicles and work in the manufacturing facilities here, but they also get the opportunities during the school day, and after school as well." says Monica Bourn, the Transformation Coordinator, at Max Hayes. She also points out that these job fairs reach farther than just the Cleveland School District. “As a blue collar state, we have a lot of manufacturing opportunities here, and we want the country to know we can still have manufacturing jobs, we want the students to know. Because those jobs are soon to disappear, because the people are retiring. And we need new, fresh blood to come in.”
If you ask a student who’s already been to this fair, such as Jsyra DeJesus who is an 11th grade student ambassador at Garrett Morgan. it pays off. "Just for them to know that there’s other jobs they could think of for them, that they don’t always have to have their eyes set up on one thing, that there’s multiple experiences they could learn from”.
To learn more about the Academies of Cleveland program, visit the Cleveland Metropolitain School District's website.