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Preparing urban youth for college and career success

OPDC School 2 Career

Pittsburgh, United States
OPDC's School 2 Career program breaks the cycle of poverty by giving high school students academic support and paid internship opportunities with employers across the city of Pittsburgh. 100% of our students graduate from high school, get into college, and are Pittsburgh Promise eligible.

Creating Bright Futures

“S2C holds students to a standard of professionalism and offers great individual support, resulting in what we experience as focused, motivated young people that have been able to contribute valuable perspectives to the areas we are exploring.”

Lindsey Scherloum, Educator for Youth Programs, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

OPDC's School 2 Career program provides academic support and career exploration opportunities to Pittsburgh's at-risk youth. The program operates year-round, beginning with an extensive and comprehensive paid summer orientation. During the school year, students receive free tutoring, paid internships, Microsoft Office 2016 training and certification, SAT preparation, and assistance in applying to college.

School 2 Career is where CEOs (Career Exploration Officers) begin their journey. Our students explore college and career opportunities while they experience and developing new skills. They connect with professionals while expanding their future educational and professional options.

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Innovation Overview
14 - 18
Age Group
Tips for implementation
You will need a space with an internet connection, preferably with a computer/work station for each program participant. You will also need a minimum of two (2) full-time staff members, depending on the size of your program, with the patience, expertise, and dedication to usher student CEOs through a truly transformative academic and professional exploration process. A strong professional network within the community, or at least a strong background in development and stewardship, will be helpful when it comes time to set up students with their work experience internships. In additional, having a staff member with a background in Education is desirable in order to effectively engage students with S2C's internal Self-Regulated Executive Functioning (SREF) Curriculum.
Contact information

See this innovation in action

”My mom was the first in our family to go to college. In her time, not many women were encouraged to pursue education and didn’t have all the ...
"I want to give back to a positive program through helping students and leading them in the right direction. S2C went beyond providing profess...
This past year, our students achieved an average GPA of 3.0, logged over 4,000 hours of mentored job shadowing, volunteering, and training, an...
"My involvement at S2C resulted in some incredible opportunities, including getting accepted to my top choice school and receiving a huge meri...
School 2 Career isn't just about after-school! Our yearly College and Career Fair gathers over two dozen colleges, universities, and local org...


Achievements & Awards


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Identify target population
Determine where and with whom your program will take place.
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Find a space.
Identify a location for a physical Center. In many cities, at-risk students must travel a fair distance between these locations; if at all possible, select a Program Center that is central the community with which you wish to engage.
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Secure staff.
Identify and hire/train staff. For a cadre of 20-30 students, you will need at a minimum of two full-time staff members, depending on the size of your program, who exhibit the professionalism, dedication, and patience to work with at-risk youth.
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Create community partnerships
Create partnerships with community organizations, as well as local businesses, churches, and youth groups. These relationships will be especially helpful in sourcing additional programming, increasing program attendance, and placing program participants in paid internships.
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Get some kids!
Invite students to join your program!
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It's time to get started! Let's put into practice everything we have prepared for the program.
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