The BTE program in Livingston County, New York—a collaborative mentoring and career development initiative—engaged 30 students from seven local high schools, including Avon, Dansville, Geneseo, Keshequa, Mount Morris, Wayland-Cohocton, and York Central School Districts.
Due to the rural location of these districts, many young people are isolated and have little knowledge of the variety of career options within the fields of math, science, and healthcare. Limited post-secondary options in the area also discourage students who do have a limited understanding of potential career opportunities .
The three-year BTE program aimed to support academic achievement, expand students’ knowledge of the health care industry, provide work-based learning opportunities, and strengthen higher education pathways. In each year of the program, the students benefited from a different area of focus.
- In year 1 (school year 2007-2008), the program targeted work-readiness skills and students participated in resume writing, mock interviews and teamwork seminars. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) employees served as mentors and career coaches to the BTE students, providing unique career exploration opportunities (company tours and other on-site experiences). BTE students were also exposed to science, math and health care programs of study at local higher education establishments, allowing them to begin to foster relationships with potential academic institutions.
- In year 2, OCD career coaches provided guidance to BTE students in the process of choosing and applying to colleges. A career day allowed students to learn more about what careers are available in the field of math, science and health care and who the local employers are that are working in those fields. In addition, students also took part in a job shadowing experience.
- In year 3, students continued to work with their OCD careercCoaches, visited area colleges, and participated in a variety of college preparation and application activities. Students also received a college preparation account (funds students can use towards academic endeavors).