A collaborative statewide effort between businesses, educators and community service organizations is gearing up to launch a new initiative to prepare students for their dream careers.
The Success Plans and Roads to Careers initiative is working to expand on the existing Department of Education Student Success Plans platform by recruiting local and statewide businesses to participate − offering internships, summer jobs and e-mentoring.
Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge presented the new initiative to local businesses, chambers and educators Friday morning at First State Manufacturing, hoping to recruit more community partnerships.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to improve graduation rates and career readiness, said Stockbridge, who also serves several other businesses heading the SPaRC.
“It gives them that kind of path to success,” he said. “There’s a passion for people to get involved and help our schools. This can only be successful if it’s big companies to small companies, from north to south.”
The SPaRC initiative is also a remodel of what Junior Achievement of Delaware has been providing for students in terms of career and college readiness, aiming to begin working with fourth- and fifth-grade students to seniors in high school, leading to direct employment, entrepreneurial start-ups or continued education.
The initiative will take existing technology that allows students to delve into their dream jobs and partner with Delaware businesses within those fields and their employees to provide training, mentoring and even job opportunities as students prepare to enter the workforce, Stockbridge said.
The SPaRC steering committee currently consists of members from The Business Rountable, The Rodel Foundation, Junior Achievement of Delaware, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Delaware Workforce Investment Board, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Economic Development Office and The United Way of Delaware.
So far, 10 pioneer companies have agreed to help spearhead the SPaRC initiative. The pioneer businesses will participate by offering interested students internships and e-mentor opportunities for specific positions within the students’ interested fields. The first companies to participate in the SPaRC initiative are Delmarva Power, Chase, AstraZeneca, First State Manufacturing, DuPont, Dow, Computer Aid, Inc., The Sallie Mae Fund, PSEG Nuclear LLC and Bank of America.
“There’s an unprecedented collaboration of organizations that are behind this,” said Junior Achievement of Delaware Leadership President Rob Eppes. “There’s a huge cohort of students…that need connections to businesses. I’m understanding how much more we can accomplish as an organization by participating with the rest of the community.”
The pioneer companies will be tasked with approaching the new initiative creatively as they work with students to see what motivates and interests them the most. The intention is also for the program to be self-sufficient in three years, with the participating businesses taking over the funding rather than the steering committee organizations funding the program.
Page 2 of 2 - The steering committee members will be meeting later this month to discuss the current state of business engagement, establishing a charter to describe what SPaRC is facing and how it will move forward, identifying members of the steering committee, leadership committee and implementation teams, goals moving forward and methods for measuring success and a timeline for the initiative’s goals and accomplishments.
“All of this is geared toward the kick-off of the next school year,” Stockbridge explained. “It’s just a growing momentum across the state. It’s no longer about just the schools telling them to do it, it’s working with the community. We have to succeed together.”