Since 2015, Bellefonte Area High School has partnered with CareerLink to help provide students with the opportunity to better navigate career exploration. Through several programs, eligible students can regularly work with high school teacher and district Transition Coordinator Rachael Davis and CareerLink representatives to help them determine the direction of their futures.

Programs through CareerLink include Bridges to the Future and the Pennsylvania CareerLink Academy.

“The objective is to help them find a career path and what they’re interested in to help in their future whether that’s military, post-secondary (education) or the workforce,” CareerLink Program Supervisor Derek Reber said. “Our goal is to help them identify that and further help them meet that goal upon graduation.”

CareerLink will also work with that student for up a year after they graduate.

Through the Bridges to the Future program, CareerLink works with about 25 students from Bald Eagle and Bellefonte area high schools, but can take a caseload of up to 50 students. A majority of those students are from Bellefonte Area.

According to information from CareerLink, Bridges to the Future is aimed at working with eligible students beginning the spring of their sophomore year and lasting through one year after graduation. The program includes assessment and interest inventories, creating goals, participating in work-based learning, resume and interviewing training, soft skill development and more. This, in turn, better prepares the students to be leaders, value education, get more involved in community relations, networking, employment preparation and more.

Through the program, students also receive:

Job shadowing experience
The chance to attend a STEAM camp the summer before their junior year that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math by participating in:
soft skill workshops
financial literacy training
entrepreneurial skill sessions
leadership activities
business tours
Work experiences the summer before their senior year in an eight-week paid job with a local employer

Al program experiences, goal-setting and one-on-one mentoring are aimed at student placement in work, the military or college upon high school graduation. Enrollment usually begins after students come back to school from holiday break.

Open to all students and staff, the Pennsylvania CareerLink Academy is a 10-part series aimed at helping students make more informed post-graduation plans through understanding markable skills and abilities, learning about local career opportunities and setting goals through a pathway plan. It also offers professional development-type training for teachers.

This also translates into some classes at the high school that allow student to learn skills that make them employable. Learn more about an interview project business teacher Ryan Myers conducts annually in his Transition to High School class that aligns with goals of the CareerLink academy: https://www.basd.net/Page/14810

Many of these programs are made possible by the Business Education Partnership Grant through the state Department of Labor and Industry that allows these programs to be brought to local high schools for the benefit of staff and students. Through the grant, it also allows teachers to coordinate field trips through CareerLink with local businesses for industry tours that help students learn more about their career interests.