Teachers from the area spent time this summer learning about work readiness skills as they participated in the Educator in the Workplace program. Often referred to as "soft skills," work readiness skills include time management, communication, working as a team, appropriate attire, positive work habits and much more. The teachers also focused on empowerment, and how their experience with a local employer could translate into empowering students to become productive members of the workforce.
The Warren/Forest Higher Education Council, School-to-Work Partnership provides the Educator in the Workplace program for teachers in our area each summer. Teachers may choose to complete the traditional program that includes 50 hours of Act 48 Continuing Education credit upon completion of the program. A shorter session is also available that provides 15 hours of Act 48 Continuing Education credit. Teachers do not receive any monetary reimbursement for participating in this program.
The educators represented a diverse group with teaching backgrounds that included guidance counselors, vocational/technical instructors and instructors from elementary, middle and secondary schools. Disciplines included foreign language, Power Equipment Technology, Civics, English, and many more. In addition, a teacher from Mercer County found our program by searching the Internet, and participated through the Intermediate Unit in that county. Several teachers completed the course requirements by spending their time at more than one location. Virginia Letko teaches at the Warren State Hospital and found that it would be to her advantage to intern at sites relevant to the students in her classroom. Virginia focused on "survival skills" and interned at Warren County Sheriff's Dept., BEi, A Safe Place, Warren County Adult Probation, and the sheltered workshop located at the Warren State Hospital.
The following educators participated; Lorelei Beichner, Joni Bunk, Josh Cotton, Barbara Couse, Julie Dailey, Amy Eaton, John Gabner, Eric Hamilton, Richard Hutley, Brian Lawson, Virginia Letko, Marilyn McCoy, James Mechling, Greg Nagurney, Janet Savko and Heather Steffy.
Employers share information regarding jobs that require a high school diploma, certificate, 2 or 4 year degree or higher. Teachers are exposed to jobs with a variety of skill and educational levels, and share this information with their students. Additionally, the employers focused on work readiness skills, as this area has been identified as a critical need by our local employer base. The participating employers include; Blair Corp., Warren General Hospital, Warren County Sheriff's Dept., Bollinger Enterprises Inc., Warren State Hospital, Warren County Adult Probation, A Safe Place, Little Creek Farm, Warren County Historical Society, Youngsville Public Library, City of Warren Fire Department, Radio Partners, Northwest Savings Bank, Allegheny National Forest Headquarters, Northern Research Lab, PA Game Commission and Smith Built Construction in Mercer County.
For more information about this program or any programs offered by the School-to-Work Partnership, contact Kris Whitaker, School to Work Coordinator, at 723-3222 ext. 30.