Grant helping kids prepare for work

October 21, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A $100,000 grant has been awarded to the Franklin County School-To-Work Partnership by the state Department of Education, moving the program from the planning stages to development and implementation expected this year.

The grant comes on top of $50,000 awarded to the county last year as startup money to begin planning the School-To-Work initiative, said Dalton Paul, a member of the Franklin County Partnership Committee and director of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

The School-To-Work Act is a nationwide plan enacted by Congress to better prepare students for the challenges of the working world.


The legislation provides the framework and funding for states and counties to design their own programs based on their particular needs.

"School-to-Work impacts every resident of Franklin in one way or another. We are seeking to prepare a highly skilled work force for the future, ensure a secure and successful future for our children, and build a strong and growing economic community for Franklin County," said Tammy Stouffer, program coordinator.

Six school districts in Franklin County - Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Waynesboro, Greencastle, Tuscarora and Fannett-Metal - along with the Scotland School for Veterans Children and the Franklin County Career and Technology Center, will be included in the program.

Adults seeking training through the career and technology center are also eligible for the program and local colleges are working with the committee to award credits to students enrolled in the program for accumulated work experience.

Part of the $100,000 will be used to put in place some programs to get the community and schools working together, Paul said.

Programs like cooperative work experiences, through which high school students spend time working for a salary or college credit in local businesses, job shadowing or observation, and educators in the workplace will eventually become a big part of the education process, he said.

"This is a new, innovative way to make education more interesting, more exciting," Paul said.

The key to a successful program is working together on a countywide level, said Joe Augustine, committee member and president of Niche Electronics Technologies Inc. in Shippensburg, Pa.

One of Augustine's primary jobs is to educate business and industry leaders about School-To-Work so that they can provide resources to the schools, he said.

Several seniors at the career and technology center are already employed by Niche Electronics Technologies Inc. for their cooperative work experience, a partnership Augustine said has been very successful.

"Once we get them, we don't want to lose them," he said.

The School-To-Work program is simply an expansion of the idea to include other students, Paul said.

Last year, 243 career and technology students participated in the cooperative education program and 95 percent were hired after graduation, he said.

"To me, there's a message in that," Paul said.

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