Better Together

Partnerships help students launch careers

By Laura Mitchell, Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools

Twelve years—that’s the time we get with the 35,000-plus students who walk into Cincinnati’s public schools every day. We get 12 years to help students learn to read; master mathematics, science, history and language arts; solve problems; think critically; collaborate; and, ultimately, enter the world of work, college or military after graduation.

That 12 years goes by in the blink of an eye.

School used to be a place to just absorb information. We’ve reimagined our schools to be places where students excel through higher expectations and have access to technology and supportive mentor relationships. Our advisory program prompts students to explore the career pathways they might want to pursue after high school, whether that’s enrolling in post-secondary study, enlisting in the military or joining the region’s workforce.

Many say that “it takes a village” to raise a child. In our district, it takes partnerships to help prepare students for what they want to do after high school. You can see the breadth and depth of these partnerships in play in any one of our 55-plus schools at any given time. Here are a few examples:

– We just launched a new cybersecurity training program in partnership with global engineering and technical staffing firm Belcan at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School. Students can complete the rigorous training program and earn high-demand certifications so they can immediately enter this fast-growing market as trained professionals after high school.

– In March 2018, we launched our new logistics program in partnership with DHL and other key partners. Students from Oyler and Gilbert A. Dater high schools will be able to earn the necessary logistics certification and college credits to complete the program and start a logistics career at DHL’s hub at CVG.

– Throughout the spring, juniors across the district job shadowed at local companies such as SORTA/Metro, Messer Construction, GE Aviation and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

– Every fall, CPS hosts a career expo with the Business-Education Connectivity Council (BECC). Students have the chance to ask questions of someone working in a job in which they may be interested.

– The University of Cincinnati and CPS created the new Early College Information Technology Program to tackle the region’s IT talent deficit. The novel partnership gives CPS students the opportunity to complete their first year of UC’s IT bachelor of science degree program while they are in high school and earn automatic admission to UC.

At CPS, our mission is simple: get students into some form of post-secondary study (enroll), the military (enlist) or into the workforce (employed). Together with our diverse partnerships, we are the launch pad for our students’ future successes.

Laura Mitchell is the 27th superintendent of the Cincinnati Public School District. Having grown up in Cincinnati, attended Bond Hill Elementary School and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts, CPS is the foundation upon which she stands.