Building Bridges Panel Discussion

Recently Sherri Hrusovski, Director for the STEM Professional Services office with the College of STEM at Youngstown State University recently arranged and participated in the “Building Bridges from High School to College to Career through Internship Experiences” panel discussion at the Ohio Cooperative Education Association (OCEA) Conference on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Other panel participants included Student – Rana Abu-Hashim – Chemical Engineering, STEM Co-op of the Year at the YSU College of STEM and Graduate of Chaney High School; John Pierko, Vice President – Technical Services, ms consultants, inc.; Pam Lubich, STEM Coordinator, Chaney High School (Youngstown City Schools); and facilitated by Judith Crocker, Workforce and Talent Development Consultant.

As the lead for the STEM Outreach Initiative grant program, Youngstown State University College of STEM initiated the partnership between local employers and the Chaney High School STEM program. The goal was to create internship opportunities for qualified Chaney High School students with local employers. Students who were interested in the program had to complete an application process (Application, complete a 500 word essay, and obtain parent permission if they were under 17 years of age), attend a 2-day Career Development work-shop, and then interview with the employers. After the student completed the entire process successfully, and then enrolled at Youngstown State University, the grant provided the students with a $1,500.00 scholarship divided into two semesters. Rana Abu-Hashim who participated with the panel was one of these success stories.

The panel concentrated on how high school internships provide students an opportunity to apply curriculum to the workplace. Strong partnerships, with high school and college staff, workforce intermediaries, and willing employers allow students to bridge from school to college to a successful career with a strong resumé, documented work experience related to their degree, and enhanced earning power. In this panel presentation, representatives from the partners will describe their roles and provide examples of how they work together to help high school students successfully obtain internship/co-op positions. These programs benefit the students and the schools by helping students determine their career and academic pathways. These decisions help benefit the schools, the employers, and the regional economy.