If you haven’t noticed it yet, some of our favorite times at Ed are the ones during which we get to spend time with students. Bridging the Gap provides a perfect platform for this, both for Ed and a host of local business and community partners that help support career exploration for student in Birmingham City Schools Career Academies. As part of the program, tenth-grade Academy students have the opportunity to visit our partners’ host sites once a month to learn about a variety of careers in their fields of interest. Each month, students hear from 5-7 professionals and get to see the environments where they work everyday.
The January tour at UAB Hospital focused on lab careers, and students went behind the scenes at the blood bank, cytology and pathology labs, and in decedent affairs in the morgue. But, we know you’d rather hear about it straight from the students, so watch the video below for an inside look into Bridging the Gap.
For this month’s students voice piece, we follow Walter Carr, a 10th-grade student at Carver’s Academy of Health Sciences as he participates in a Bridging the Gap tour at UAB Hospital last month for Carver and Jackson-Olin students. Bridging the Gap was the brainchild of Ed staff and our partners at UAB Health System, who wanted to get students into the hospital as often as possible. Because of the success of the program at UAB, Ed has expanded the program to serve students at Parker’s Academy of Urban Education, Carver’s Academy of Engineering, and Woodlawn’s Academy of Business and Finance for spring 2014, and will seek to expand to Wenonah’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and Huffman’s Academy of Architecture and Construction for the 2014-2015 school year.
On March 14th, eleventh-graders in the Birmingham City Schools Career Academies will have the opportunity to participate in the first Career Development Conference, sponsored by Birmingham Education Foundation and the Birmingham Rotary Club. At the Conference, students will participate in three break-out sessions on professional skills and sit for a live fifteen-minute interview with a local Birmingham professional. In preparation for the conference, members from Birmingham Rotary and the Urban League are visiting each Academy to relay to students some basic information about interviewing, and giving them an idea of what to expect and what to do.
This past week, students at in the Academy of Urban Educators at A. H. Parker High School heard from Rotary Club member Kennon Walthall about the importance of interview preparation and presentation. Walthall is the President of RDS, Inc. in Birmingham, and he relayed to the students the importance of using interview skills at anytime and anyplace during interactions with others and gave examples from careers in health, law, sales, and research. Walthall also told students that they should get to know the company with whom they are interviewing, be prepared to ask questions during the interview, and send letters to the interviewers thanking them for the opportunity. At the end of the presentation, students shared their own experiences in being interviewed and what they took away from it.
Similarly, Rotarian Kelly Bownes, founder and CEO of MedPlan Recruiting, spoke to students at Carver’s Academy of Health Sciences two weeks ago. At the beginning of the program, Bownes talked about the importance of a good first impression, and gave students pointers on body language, especially how to sit upright in a chair and give a good handshake. After sharing the information, Bownes shook hands with each student and delivered feedback n how to improve.
The Career Development Conference is part of Ed’s College Prep Institute and will take place March 14th from 9a-2p at the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham. Approximately 200 students and 50 local professionals will participate in the event, and Cedric Sparks and Sanjay Singh will deliver the event’s keynote address during lunch.
On Thursday, February 20, students at Woodlawn High Schools’s Academy of Business and Finance were given the rare opportunity to expand their professional circles to include Regions Financial Crop. North Central AL area-President, Bill Horton.
Participating in a session that was part-Bridging the Gap and part-College Prep Institute, Horton spoke about his journey through the banking industry, gave an overview of corporate careers in business, and invited students to participate in a series of on-site tours to take place at Regions through the spring semester. Over the course of three sessions, students will get to visit both Regions Center and Regions Field to learn about the wealth of career possibilities in the industry, and specifically, the ones that support Regions Financial. In May, students will be invited to attend and view the New Venture Challenge, a business-plan contest sponsored by Regions in partnership with the Brock School of Business at Samford.
Horton was also joined by Leslie Doyle, Vice President of Marketing for North Central AL, who also talked about the ins-and-outs of her career at Regions and gave students an overview of their tour schedule.
Throughout the semester, students at Woodlawn will be exposed to over 20 different careers in the business and finance industry, through partnerships with Regions and the Birmingham Business Alliance. To visit more, visit our Signature Programs page.
This spring, the 2014 College 101 campaign will provide multiple opportunities for Ed and several Alabama colleges and universities to interact with students and equip them with important information about the college admissions process. As part of the program, Ed staff are visiting each high school during designated lunch hours to setup College Entrance Requirements Tables (ERTs). Students that stop by an ERT receive individualized reports detailing the GPAs and ACT scores they need to get into the schools of their choice, have the opportunity to submit their contact info to receive more information, and are encouraged to commit to goal-setting and academic planning early in their high-school careers.
On December 12, 2013, tenth-grade students in the academies at Woodlawn, Jackson-Olin, Huffman and Wenonah High Schools participated in the inaugural Academy Service Day as part of Ed’s College Prep Institute. Ed, in partnership with local non-profit YouthServe, assigned over 130 BCS students to six local service sites: Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Community Food Bank, YWCA’s Toys for Tots, Firehouse Shelter, Ronald McDonald House, DHR’s Foster Care Toy Shop.
Click the video below to hear from Michaelca Miles, a student from Woodlawn’s Academy of Business and Finance who joined Ed and YouthServe at the YWCA’s Toys for Tots site, and learn about the experience from the perspective of our students.