Career Education Program
The West Chester Area School District’s multi-faceted Career Education Program connects high school students with real world experiences, serving as a critical link between classroom learning, both in curriculum content and skill acquisition, and in the world of work. Deeper learning occurs through the purposeful integration of rigorous academic content with diverse experiences to build knowledge, intentionally cultivate skills, and broaden perspectives for students to become lifelong learners and purposeful contributors to our community and beyond.
Business and community connections positively impact students through the sharing of practical work experiences and learned life lessons that help students make informed career decisions. Through these meaningful interactions, community leaders also help students identify and hone future-ready skills needed to compete and succeed in the workplace.
Our goal is to provide awareness to students and families of the spectrum of post-secondary career and education and training opportunities including school to work, apprenticeship, certification, and two year and four year college/university programs. Purposeful and rewarding careers abound in both the skilled trades and those requiring a college degree, and may be achieved at various levels of financial cost.
Career Education Components – Grades 9 – 12
Personal Interest & Aptitude Exploration:
Students identify and develop personal interests through course selection including an array of elective course offerings, participation in extracurricular clubs, sports, and activities, and engagement in our comprehensive career exploration software program.
Classroom and community based experiences focused on learning, literacy and life skills. Learning skills focus on the “Four Cs”: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Literacy skills, also called “IMT”, include information, media, and technology skills that focus on digital comprehension. Life skills (“FLIPS”), include flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity and social skills.
Career Awareness via Field Trips, Community Events, and Career Showcases:
Students may participate in a variety of curriculum related field trips, events and showcases in various career clusters and post-secondary educational institutions. Collaboration with leadership and mentoring organizations such as Junior Achievement (JA), Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW), Youth Leadership Program (YLP), and others is included. Students complete a reflection of their experience(s) which is housed in their individual career portfolio, allowing each experience to shape their future vision.
Job Shadowing and Internship Program – Grades 11, 12
Job shadowing is a career exploration activity in which students gain exposure to careers that they are interested in pursuing by working with business/community volunteers for part of a work day. By visiting a workplace, investigating a career field and industry, and experiencing a typical day on the job, students can determine if the career and industry fits their interests, skills, and career aspirations. Students may initiate their own experiences or in coordination with the Career Education Counselor.
Internships provide juniors and seniors a deeper understanding of, and experience within, a business/institution/non-profit organization, over a minimum time period of 60 hours. This may be completed throughout the school year, summer, or during the last four weeks of senior year, in coordination with the Career Education Counselor. Students must procure their own internship-site, find the associated transportation, secure a faculty advisor, and the business must obtain the required Pennsylvania clearances. Each student is required to maintain a journal, with reflections, within their career portfolio, and provide an oral presentation that summarizes their experience at the conclusion of their internship.
Check out the WCASD Career Education GoogleSite for more information and helpful resources!
For more information contact our Career Education Counselors, Kelly McCreesh (EHS, RHS) and Heather Bratton (HHS).