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Preparing students for that first job

February 06, 2013 - While not every student will go on to college, everyone will enter the workforce.

Oxford Community School's School to Work Program is designed to help both college-bound students and those heading into the real world gain the skill sets needed to get that first job.

"It's a career prep type class where students for part of that class will be placed in a work setting," explained Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Dr. James Schwarz.

According to Schwarz, the program has already been up and running at Oxford's Crossing Bridges, the district's alternative high school program, which serves at-risk youth.

"We think it's a great capstone experience for students in Bridges where many, if not most of them, will be going directly into careers or jobs following graduation," he said. "Many of those students are not post-secondary bound."

Starting next fall, the program will be implemented at Oxford High School as well. Schwarz said the high school had a school-to-work co-op program several years ago, but it was "phased out" when the teacher who oversaw it retired. Since then, the demand to bring the program back has been considerable from both students as well as business owners.

The program is designed for juniors and seniors. It a hybrid course, which means the students will be in the classroom until they find a job. Once they get hired someplace, students will only be required to meet in the classroom once a week. Part of their classroom instruction will include learning how to write cover letters, resumes and fill out job applications, along with developing interviewing skills, work ethics and soft skills including team work and having a positive attitude. They will also be taught how to read their paycheck.

Schwarz said the program "will run the gamut" of different jobs depending on the needs and interests of the students.

"I think it's a great opportunity for students to apply what they're learning in school and on the job, and meshing the two together," he said.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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