Bridging the gap between education and industry with SWR’s School-to-Community program

District educators, administrators, high school students and community business representatives met on Jan. 17 in the third in a series of outreach meetings created to help students connect to real-world opportunities and careers and to make education a lifelong learning experience.

The School-to-Community Program allows participants to brainstorm programs and events that will help bridge the gap between education and industry. Together they are working to develop and implement pilot programs for SWR high school students.

Gathered in the high school library, groups were divided by tables and topics focused on guest speakers, internships/jobs, mentoring/shadowing/world of work tours, real-world projects, the Spring Career Fair on March 28 and the STEM Symposium scheduled for May 15. Students had a central role in taking notes, providing input and announcing the table’s recommendations.

Business facilitators helped to ensure that all topic perspectives were addressed and that the goal of developing a realistic pilot program was met. They were Linda Kelban, CGAA Inc./GWN Securities; Kristen D’Andrea, Town of Brookhaven Highway Department; Paul Cataldo, Paul Cataldo, Architecture and Planning; John Searing, ASRC Federal; Mary Diane Riotto, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe; and Henry Bramwell, Brookhaven Business Advisory Council.

Businesses that were represented were Aflac, Brookhaven National Laboratory, CLIMB, Little Leaders, LI Speakers Bureau and the LI Science Center.

“Bridges can be built when we all work together for a common goal,” said Lisa M. Strahs-Lorenc, director of CEO Works, a school-business partnership program of career and employment options, who facilitates the meetings. “That’s what we are accomplishing for students of all learning levels and for all industries across Long Island.”

The next meeting of the School-to-Community Program is scheduled for May 23, and it will be a celebration of the spring programs and events.