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Student work program gets new life

October 30, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A former countywide program that stressed the importance of teaching youth about the workplace has been reinvigorated with a new name and coordinator.

Work Net is an extension of the School-to-Work Program that essentially disappeared more than a year ago, said William O'Sick, Franklin County youth coordinator with the SouthCentral Employment Corporation.

O'Sick plans to work with the county's six school districts to get students thinking about careers and work ethics.

"The problem with young students is they have so much thrown at them, they've become lackadaisical," O'Sick said.

The goal is to make classrooms and workplaces learning environments that will motivate youth to stay in school and prepare for the future.

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He said one of Work Net's intents is to let students know there are many different paths to career success.

"I wasn't ready for college until I was 22 or 23," O'Sick said. "I ended up in the Marine Corps, got a job and then went to college."

O'Sick said youths may not have a clear picture about what the job market is really like.

"Pennsylvania is on the down side with plumbers and electricians. Programs are hiring people from out of state," he said.

O'Sick said the program could be a bridge between schools and communities, and it is being billed as "a network of home, school and work place."

One goal is to put together teams of school and business leaders through Work Net to meet one-on-one with families with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

"Kids getting ready for high school need to think of careers," he said.

The program can also include job shadowing, part-time jobs and apprenticeships that will give students a comprehensive experience to prepare them for their future.

Work Net will target about 60 percent of students.

O'Sick said 20 percent of students will automatically go to college and another 20 percent have special needs and will get jobs with the help of teachers.

The ones in the middle are those Work Net can have an impact on, he said.

"We will start off small to see how it will work out," he said.

O'Sick said he is already thinking ahead to the summer, when he plans career workshops for students of all ages.

Dave Bumbaugh, with the SouthCentral Employment Corporation, and O'Sick outlined the new program before the Franklin County Commissioners Tuesday and urged them to help get the word out and businesses involved.

Bumbaugh said the program got off the ground with a three-year, $38,000 grant from the SouthCentral Pennsylvania Youth Council, but after then it will need to be come self-sufficient.

O'Sick said once Work Net takes off he sees it becoming a resource for career information that will also improve communication between business and education.

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