Businesses Needed for Greenwood High School Capstone Projects
Greenwood Community High School is committed to providing students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the real world. One of the ways they do this is through work-based learning experiences for the senior capstone project intended to help students define clearer post-graduation career paths. The school has partnered with Aspire to connect students with local businesses and to bring on more industry mentors.
A work-based learning option for the senior capstone project is an opportunity for students to shadow local professionals, learn about different careers, and gain valuable hands-on experience in the industry of their choice to meet their graduation requirements.
Juniors will begin searching for mentors this spring to work with over the summer or early fall. The senior capstone project requires students to spend 15 hours shadowing their mentor, journal their experiences, and write papers, which will culminate in a community presentation in December of their senior year.
"Aspire is working with Greenwood High School teachers to ensure that each student has a mentor for their senior capstone project," said Jennifer Hollingshead, School To Work Specialist at Aspire. "Several of our staff have previously helped judge senior capstone project presentations and have heard students discuss the difficulties in finding a mentor. Through our members and connections in the community, we can facilitate introductions between students and local business leaders."
Exposure to the professional business community is a highly beneficial educational tool that has been underutilized due to communication and awareness barriers. As a chamber of commerce organization concerned also with growing the local workforce and improving the quality of public education, Aspire seeks to leverage its business connections to support the career development of high school students.
"During the student presentations, I heard from so many students that they had trouble getting connected to a business, phone calls weren't returned, etc," said Amanda Rubadue, Vice President of Economic Development at Aspire. "We have so many companies that have raised their hand and said, 'Yes, please include me, what do you need?' They shouldn't have trouble with that in the future. That's where Aspire can come in and make these connections more meaningful for the students and the businesses."
The benefits of participating in a capstone work-based learning project are numerous. For employers, it provides an opportunity to connect with future employees and help shape the next generation of workers. The community has already seen high schoolers who have been inspired to pursue careers in fields they had never considered before and businesses have found new talent and energy from their interactions with students.
"We are asking that business leaders in the community be open to working with local high school students by providing quality hands-on learning experiences," said Hollingshead. "If employers are willing to connect with other school corporations in addition to Greenwood, they can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information."