Saturday, June 9, 2012

Learning About the Real Work World

From left, Eileen Dautrich, executive director of the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce with Rose Nodolski, Steve Batten of The Mercury with Zachary Haines and Main Street Manager Sheila Dugan with DaVenia McKim.
Blogger's Note: Our thanks to the tireless John Armato for this very interesting submission.

The Pottstown School District Community Partnership Worksite Program enables high school students to gain real life job experience as part of their school day program. Local businesses provide students the opportunity to develop the skills and employable characteristics by providing internships and shadowing experiences.

The program, which is run by teachers Kevin Pascal and Toni Rapp recently held an appreciation luncheon which was catered by the Pottstown High School Culinary Arts students. Local businesses and their representatives were guests of their student interns and included:

  • Jen Smith representing Boscov’s Department Store, who helped teach Dave Emery, Stephanie Heimbach, and Donald Barthel.
  • Bob Vitabile representing Redner’s Market, who helped teach Sarah Wilkerson, Michael Brant, Grant Sherman.
  • Joan Daly representing Freedom Valley YMCA, who helped teach Marcus Benjamin.
  • Executive Director Eileen Dautrich representing Tri County Chamber of Commerce, who helped teach Rose Nodolski. 
  • Steve Batten representing The Mercury who helped teach Zachery Haines. Main Street
  • Manager Sheila Dugan representing Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, who helped teach DaVenia McKim.
Other business partners that were unable to attend included: Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods, Liberty Thrift Shop, and Styles to Suit Salon.

During the luncheon, Rapp’s remarks addressed the business partners, “I cannot begin to tell you the invaluable service you are providing in allowing our students this work experience. You and the Pottstown School District are partners in providing our youth with the skills necessary to become valuable employee members of our community. It’s a cycle worth repeating. Students who live here will probably work here, and contribute to the economic growth of our community. We may not necessarily be able to control what goes on at the state, national, or international level but we can contribute and control what happens in our community. I would like to thank each of you for ‘you’ believing in Pottstown and believing in the vision we’re trying to create for our students.”

Pascal borrowed from the Bill Gates philosophy, “Bill Gates has said on many occasions that the high schools of today are obsolete. Training the workforce of tomorrow with the schools of today is like trying to teach students about computers on 50 year-old mainframes.”

Pascal reminded students and businesses alike, “one of the best tools for the times is the cooperative education experiences that our students have been fortunate to receive with our local businesses. Anything can happen in theory but reality takes experience. This is what the cooperative intern experience is all about.”

He reminded the students, “As global competition intensifies, the need of American businesses for even more qualified and skilled employees will also increase. Every day you should be asking yourself, ‘What are you doing to set yourself apart from the competition?’ With students competing in the global marketplace one must consistently increase their skills and marketability in order to compete in society.”

Danielle McCoy, Director of the Pottstown School District Career and Technical Education Department, expressed her pride in the students, staff, and business partners. “It is through community partnerships such as the one we have developed with our worksite program that provides students with real life learning experiences and helps to develop the workforce of tomorrow.”

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