Different career pathways for different students - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Different career pathways for different students

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When it comes to preparing students for college and the careers looming in their futures, Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar dean of West Virginia University's College of Business and Economics, said, “the one size fits all solution is not going to cut it.”

How to prepare students for whichever path they may choose to take will be a topic of discussion at the 78th annual West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit Aug. 27-29 at The Greenbrier Resort during a panel that Sartarelli will moderate.

Members of the panel will include West Virginia Board of Education member Lloyd Jackson, Vice President of West Virginia Board of Education Michael Green, newly selected State Superintendent Michael Martirano, President of BridgeValley Community Technical College Jo Harris and secondary curriculum director of Logan County Jan Hanlon.

One of the many factors necessary to prepare students for college and the workforce is advising, Sartarelli said.

“Quality time with students is very important,” he said.

Not only does quality time benefit students, it also improves their retention rates. If an advisor is available to help guide students through all the nuances and hurdles that college brings, that student is less likely to start college but not finish.

To be college-ready, Sartarelli advises students to challenge themselves with Advanced Placement courses and to take on internships in college to have an easier time jumping into the sea of finding a job.

Not completing internships only means “it's going to be much more difficult to get a job later,” he said and advises students to “go to the career development center and start preparing (themselves).”

According to Sartarelli, studies show that “people with post-secondary education get better jobs and make more money over their lifetime.”

In order to bring real-world experience and practicality to classrooms, Sartarelli said many colleges, WVU included, have incorporated practicums in which practitioners are brought in from the outside to talk to students regarding a specific subject.

So far, students have responded enthusiastically.

“It is extremely well-received, and the kids love it,” Sartarelli said. “It adds the real-life component that is often missing. They are extremely practical.”

However, there is no escaping the fact that some people are not going to go to college, he said. In years gone by, Sartarelli said the career pathway consisted of completing high school and diving straight into the workforce or making the transition from high school to college.

Now, there is an ever-increasing job niche for specialized skills that may require specialized training, but not necessarily a degree.

Examples include working in a factory and operating specialized machinery.

“You don't necessarily need a college education but you do need specialized training to operate the machinery,” Sartarelli said.

Due to the evolutionary complexity of car manufacturing, a technical skill set is usually needed in that instance as well.

According to Sartarelli, an individual used to be able to go under the hood of a car, know what the parts were and fix the issue with relative ease. Now that car parts are so interconnected and integrated, fixing one issue merely leads to fixing another.

When it comes to vocational and technical schools, Sartarelli said it probably hasn't been talked about as much as it should have been in the past. It used to be very common to have an industrial arts department, he said.

When all is said and done, Sartarelli said there need to be education and career opportunities for everyone, whether individuals decide to advance to a four-year collegiate institution, a community or technical college, a vocational school or to jump straight into the workforce.

The important thing is to “plant the seed” and come up with potential insight for audience members to internalize and discuss, he said.

 

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