November 27, 2019 • Community News – St. Louis County • www.mycnews.com
‘STARS’ from cover the Year with a car for three years now. The dealership approached BGCSTL a couple years ago to talk about a way to support the work of the club. “The idea of transportation popped up knowing that oftentimes our families are limited because they don’t have proper transportation. If they have a car it’s being shared by multiple family members or there is no car in the family. Given the opportunities that our youth have today, it’s a good thing if they have their own transportation and can get around to some of the activities and experiences. It’s certainly a plus.” Kain, who has been a club member for eight years has seen several opportunities due to her involvement with the club. Last year she won the BGCA Hank Aaron Scholarship Award which allowed her to purchase STEM materials and equipment to provide sessions for elementary, middle, and high school club members in the summer of 2018. Another opportunity for Kain was her past participation this year as a teen panelist at Harris Stowe State University’s Spark the Mind Advancing the Agenda for African Americans in STEM event. At this event she had
the opportunity to meet Aprille Ericsson, an aerospace engineer for NASA. Kain herself has plans to become an aerospace engineer upon completion of college. “I’ve always been interested in STEM,” Kain said of her career choice. “I put in one of my essays that even before I could do my timetables in math class, I was looking at the stars – pointing out constellations. That’s always been an interest of mine. After I got older, I got into robotics. I’ve been on the robotics team since about fourth grade and that got me into engineering. So, I kind of put my love for space and my love for engineering together and decided I wanted to be an aerospace engineer.” Kain is still deciding on a college post high school graduation in 2021 but she shares that she does have an interest in Florida Institute of Technology; the institute has vast STEM-related programs. Other opportunities and accomplishments include her receiving of the Joan Ellyn Silber Award for Volunteerism and Leadership, and her first place award of an all-inclusive trip to Washington, D.C. in the high school division of the nationwide 2019 STEP Ahead Awards. In addition, she has spoken at events to share how the Boys & Girls Club has impacted her life. When asked what she enjoys most about the club, Kain shared, “Being able to start my own STEM program—(overseeing) that – was one of the best experiences. The music video program which I have been a part of probably since seventh grade – I’ve gotten to cre-
ate my own song. I’ve gotten to be a part of that whole process and (learned) what it takes to create a song. I (have) improved my music skill – I play the piano.” Kain also shared that at the club she is part of Smart Girls—a program that teaches life skills and etiquette. Club members can choose their involvement in various programs based on individual interest. “As a junior it’s been hard to go to the club this year on a regular basis. However, I always try to allocate time for the club; there are people there I feel like are my family. So, I try to get there at least once a week. Over the summer, I go all the time.” Kain shared that her 2020 responsibilities as Teen Ambassador requires that she attends BGCSTL events, visit various BGCSTL sites and participate in public speaking events to “spread a positive message.” “The foundation is laid for these winners to be extremely successful moving forward,” stated Fowler. “It gives them a chance to have their talents and interests on display at a very early age. Each year there are 14 to 30 young people who (demonstrate they) have the leadership skills and the character to go out and help change communities and make St. Louis and several other communities better places to live. So, it’s my hope that the experience, not just winning it, but having gone through that training and engagement will help young people understand the impact they can have in any endeavor that they pursue.” By Art McCoy, PhD
A paradigm shift: four bold career pathway guarantees for all Imagine if every K-12 public-school system ensured that all students received the following four bold guarantees: Guarantee No. 1: 100 percent of students engage in up to four career pathways, learning and earning programs with targeted mentors, starting in 1st grade continuing through 12th grade with paid apprenticeships and jobs from a broad business network. Guarantee No. 2: 100 percent of students can earn up to an associate degree by high school graduation at no cost. Guarantee No. 3: 100 percent of students receive at least six months of entrepreneurship and “power-skills” training in seventh through 12th grade. Guarantee No. 4: 100 percent of students can pursue up to seven Industry Recognized Credentials (IRC) by graduation including certifications from Microsoft, CISCO, OSHA/Industrial Powertools, ProStart foodservice, RISE Up Sales, ACT Work Keys, and Missouri as Pharmacy Technicians. Today, in Jennings School District, we ensure that all students receive these guarantees. While this is the Jennings Warrior Way, such guarantees are possible for all in St. Louis and beyond. The reality today for most children is over 50 percent of U.S. public-school students are impoverished. People feel the effect of a 125 percent increase in public college costs in one generation.
Sadly, although the cost of college degrees has skyrocketed, the value of many degrees has diminished. Over 60 percent to 65 percent of all jobs will require some industry training typically taken after high school but not necessarily a college degree. So, we redesigned the school system by placing such education and training in primary grades for construction and architecture, coding, and healthcare and continued it through middle and high school levels. By starting in elementary school, students complete nearly 10,000 hours of career-technical skills training during high school. This allows our students to do advanced doctoral research with UMSL and Washington University with pay in various areas like systems dynamics, genomics, and bioinformatics. Others work on building mobile library hubs, hospitals, or rehabbing houses and earn $20 per hour with benefits from Niehaus Building Services and full rides to the University of Missouri from Clayco with work and mentors. This shows three things. First, such an education is a great equalizer. Secondly, greater access to outstanding opportunities like these is an equity super-sizer. Thirdly, a system-wide paradigm shift is essential for this redesign. Prosperity occurs when proficient preparation meets personalized opportunities with powerful partners. One example of such partnerships is the award-winning workforce develop-
ment initiative, STL.Works. It launched at the St. Louis American Center with over 600 attendees on August 6th, after months of planning with RBC CEO, Kathy Osborn, and other leaders. Over 100 Fortune 500 companies committed to this paradigm shift and getting more youth and adults to work. These bold career pathway guarantees and powerful partnerships are proof positive that we as a community can: • Empower children and adults in a way that produces 100% graduation and career placement despite the zip code. • Eliminate millions of dollars of college debt and the false choice of either college or career by doing both careers and college credit funded by business. • Engage students in learning and earning early in life. A zip code should not confine anyone. Every student can thrive. But it requires a paradigm shift with bold career pathway guarantees for all. Art McCoy, Ph.D. is the superintendent for the Jennings School District. The opinions expressed in this column are the columnist’s alone and do not reflect the opinion of the owners or staff of Community News.
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