Career pathways for Evans High School seniors

Kelly Astro says contacting Jobs Partnership president Marc Stanakis is one of the first things she did when she became Evans High School’s community partnership school director in August 2021. Her initial idea was to introduce JP and our LifeWorks training course to students’ parents. “But as I started to get the lay of the land, I realized many of our seniors didn’t have a pathway after high school,” she says. “I thought, ‘Could we do something with graduating seniors?’ Marc said, ‘Of course.’”

The conversations that followed resulted in a pilot LifeWorks class at Evans this spring. Participants include graduating seniors as well as members of the community. “The students have been extraordinarily positive about their experience,” Kelly says. “They’re more confident about what comes next. They’re learning skills you don’t normally get in high school – résumé building, interviewing, career exploration – and learning from mentors.”

They’re also discovering opportunities such as Accelerated Skills Training (AST) at Valencia College. AST certificate courses deliver technical training in high-demand fields such as healthcare and manufacturing. Many students qualify for tuition vouchers, making postsecondary education possible.

JP director of partnerships Elliott Drake says, “It’s a great privilege to have this opportunity to serve Evans’ high-school seniors. Through LifeWorks, they can develop a career path instead of just looking for a job after high school.”

New Church of Faith has served as the lead church of the Evans pilot, with New Covenant Baptist of Orlando and Orangewood churches providing dinner each week for participants and volunteers. Class volunteers represent nine area churches.

Evans High School became Florida’s first community partnership school in 2012. Community partnership schools meet students’ and families’ needs in areas ranging from tutoring and adult education to healthcare and food pantries.

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