SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Thanks to a Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board grant, a group of Lehigh Career & Technical Institute students will spend this summer learning new skills and gaining resume-building experience.
The students, a group of 20 rising seniors, are slated to spend the next six weeks working at LCTI, Lehigh Carbon Community College and the school districts of East Penn, Northern Lehigh, Parkland Salisbury Township and Southern Lehigh. The kind of work students’ are tasked with depends on their interests and program of study at LCTI.
Groundskeeping, information technology and public relations are just some of the career fields students will explore during the Summer Youth Work Experience program. The roughly $74,000 grant covers students’ wages, as well as those of staff who run the program, which is in its second summer at LCTI.
Before beginning their summer jobs, students received seven days of safety and employability skills training from Vicki Phillips, who serves as the program trainer and is also one of LCTI’s Supply Chain Management & Logistics Technology instructors. The training reinforces soft skills students learn during the school year, ensures students understand what’s expected of them in a professional setting and includes lessons designed to improve students’ financial literacy.
Training activities included tours of the Electromechanical/Mechatronics Technology program lab at LCTI, the Nestle Waters North America facility in Breinigsville and LCCC’s Schnecksville campus, which is adjacent to LCTI. Students also learned how to apply for admission to LCCC and access services available through Pennsylvania CareerLink Lehigh Valley.
“We’re providing them with a means to ramp of their employability skills while they earn,” said Jan Brna, LCTI’s director of postsecondary & workforce education. “They learn about the value of teamwork, how to conduct themselves in the workplace, what employers expect of them…and the kids really enjoy it.”
Throughout the summer, Phillips and LCTI School-To-Career Coordinator Wendy Harris check in with students and their employers. Check-ins help LCTI gage students’ progress. Employers are required to submit performance evaluations for each student at the program’s conclusion.