Life Skills and Workforce Training at STEM Academy

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Students have an opportunity to practice life skills and workforce training at STEM Academy.  In Pennsylvania, the alliance between local business and schools is having a positive outcome for students. 

MidAtlantic Employer’s Association, a non-profit, works with other organizations to help manage its workforce needs. The association and STEM Academy — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — partnered for a new initiative to provide the high students with the opportunity to prepare to be an employee with skills needed for the workforce. This is the first time that the association is working with students.

By guiding students, the association staff teaches students skills to help them learn how to prioritize responsibilities and tasks, both at work and at home; how to listen effectively during stressful situations; how to capitalize on their personal style of communication; and how to overcome obstacles to achieve positive outcomes.

Susan Boardman, internships and partnerships leader at STEM Academy, said the program aims to turn students into employable people ready for the workforce.

“There’s a work force development problem,” Boardman said.

She said employers know what they want from employees. This enables the association to teach certain skills to the students which helps develop the work force, she said.

Staff from the association held training workshops for freshman, sophomores and juniors, concentrating on communication, time management, strategies for success and professional tools and skills.

Life Skills and Workforce Training at STEM Academy

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“The goal is to progressively teach specific, practical skills at each grade level,” Boardman said. Additionally guest speakers shared interview skills, how to network and how to communicate more effectively to accomplish goals.

STEM is structured to help students with time management, for personal growth and to be a risk-taker, Boardman said. The purpose of the learning structure is more than about preparing students for college. She said it is to help students succeed in the workforce.

Seniors participate in a career exploration in local companies. It is described as real-life practice for students to shadow an employee in a field they are interested in pursuing.

Boardman said shadowing allows the students the opportunity to ask employees about their required education, career paths taken and work-related advice.

The initiative gives students career readiness skills, Boardman said. She said the program allows for students to learn a hands-on approach to understand the skills needed beyond what students learn in a classroom.

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Life Skills and Workforce Training at STEM Academy

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