GLADSTONE - A new partnership between local businesses and Gladstone students will kick off in the next few weeks. The Gladstone School Board heard a presentation about the program at its meeting Monday.
"It's just one of those things that makes sense and we should have been doing it for a long time," said Gladstone Superintendent Jay Kulbertis of the new program aimed to teach students real world job skills through job shadowing experiences.
The project is being spearheaded by former Gladstone high school biology teacher Kathy Becker, who retired at the end of the last year.
"She wanted to stay connected to the kids and the district so she still is our student council advisor. She also wanted to look at a program that pairs students with area businesses," said Kulbertis.
Becker will be actively involved in implementing the program and monitoring the results of the partnership.
"Her job is basically market the program to businesses and industry, match the appropriate student to a job placement, mentor the student so they're successful in this relationship, and then monitor and evaluate the program," said Kulbertis.
At least 20 junior and senior students are expected to participate in the program, which begins with career exploration seminars held during students' lunch period. During these seminars, professionals from businesses that have partnered with the school for the program will visit the high school to present information about the educational requirements, duties, opportunities, and salary that come with working in their chosen career field.
The seminars will take place weekly starting in December and students will be notified of speakers and their career topic.
Following the seminar portion of the program, participating students will be matched with businesses and local professionals for job shadowing experiences to teach students about the day-to-day responsibilities required in that profession.
"It really should be a nice program and we're excited to get kids placed after the holidays," said Kulbertis.
A minimum of two job shadowing sessions, each lasting two hours, for a minimum of three weeks will take place at each participating business. If the business and student decide that the partnership is working, the placements could be extended to as long as one semester.
"It's not those that are just definitely college bound but it's even those that aren't sure what they're going to do after high school because there are a lot of hands on, career-tech type of job placements that we're looking at," said Kulbertis.
"Whether they're (going to be) brick layers, welders, boiler makers, those students need to take a look at 'what's going to be expect of me?'" Kulbertis added.
Not all businesses working with the district are in industries or career fields that require career or technical training. Kulbertis believes even college bound students can benefit from the program.
"What we're learning is a lot of even our most successful students really don't know enough about what's required of them in a real job," he said.
Businesses that are interested in participating in the program can contact Becker at email@example.com.
In other business during the meeting, the school board adopted the first budget amendment of the year. The changes solidified some of the numbers tied to funding that were uncertain at the time the budget was originally passed in June.
"The bottom line is it's a negligible change, but it does give us a lot clearer picture on what we want to be working on over the course of the school year," said Kulbertis.