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New Program Fosters Leadership in Future Workforce

In the photo- Youth Educator Lisa Bowser guides students (back to front) Alyssa Withers, Krysta Beach and Crystal Carter through computer based exercises.
1/27/2010 —

DuBois – Some area youth in Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk Counties are getting a head start on their career by exploring the professional options available right here in the Tri-County Area.  


The Leaders in Technology (LIT) program helps young people evaluate work they are best suited for through assessments and aptitude analysis, and then introduces them to technology-based careers that align with both their talents and interests. 


"The fist part of the program gets the kids to look inside themselves and understand what qualities they have, what interests they have and really examine who they are," said Youth Educator for the LIT program, Lisa Bowser.  She explains that properly matching program participants to work that interests and satisfies them is a key to career success. 


Throughout the course, students are also tutored in basic life skills, like balancing a checking account.  Basic math and reading skills are also reviewed and built upon.  Students also receive help and guidance in building good Leadership skills, which go a long way in helping them to feel comfortable and confident in a business environment. 


Modeled after similar programs used by 4-H, which were established with the help of the Penn State Cooperative Extension, Jefferson County Extension Director Rick Kralj said the program is built on a proven formula. He explained, "We've had such success with the 4-H program, that we're using that same basic curriculum here.  One of our main goals is to indentify the skills that the students need to make stronger and help them develop those."     


"There has been such a need for a program like this," Bowser said.  "To get these kids the exposure to these types of environments and to do this work and have someone tell them what it's like.  It's fantastic."


Each student in the program will, in fact, have someone to tell them exactly what it's like to work in their desired field.  After choosing a career that they would like to pursue, each student will be matched with a mentor who currently works in that field.  The mentor will help them to further explore the duties required of someone doing that type of work, and help them to understand the educational requirements.


The career paths the program focuses on are also ones that are likely to provide plenty of opportunity, according to Penn State DuBois Continuing Education Representative Jeannine Hanes.  "We have targeted high priority careers that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has outlined as having a large demand for people to fill open positions," Hanes said.  That includes careers in the Telecommunications and Personal Computer industries, as well as work with Nanotechnology and Global Positioning Systems. 


Upon completing the program, each participant will have earned a certificate, and compiled a portfolio of their work.  Both are items they can use to help market themselves to potential employers.  


The class meets for three hours, once a week, for three months.  Classes are available in DuBois, St Marys, Clearfield, and Brookville.  People ages 14-21, with an economic disadvantage, and a barrier to employment are eligible.  There is no cost to class participants.


The program is the result of collaboration between the North Central Workforce Investment Board, Continuing Education at Penn State DuBois, and the Penn State Cooperative Extension.  The program is made possible by funding sponsored by the North Central Workforce Investment Board.  


For more information, contact Jeannine Hanes at 375-4836, or jhanes@psu.edu

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