Today, Mastery Schools of Camden announced its high school, the Mastery High School of Camden, has launched an innovative Career Pathways program funded by a $130,000 grant from the Camden Education Fund. The program, which bridges the gap between high school and career, is designed for students who intend to immediately enter the workforce following graduation.
Currently, there are 20 Mastery seniors enrolled in the program, with each student interning two days per week at their designated internship site: The Michaels Organization, Resin-Tech, and ActionPak. Seniors participating in the Career Pathways program engage in a career preparation course in the fall and then complete a paid internship with a local employer in the spring. Those successful in their internships will graduate with full-time offers for employment.
“At Mastery, we prepare our students for post-secondary success, whether that is college or career opportunities,” said Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Schools. “We provide rigorous academic programming to ensure our students learn and thrive, and partnerships with organizations like the Camden Education Fund and Camden Works are critical to developing substantive internships that can lead students towards real career opportunities. Through this partnership, we are ensuring students are prepared to enter the workforce with experience, confidence, and a pathway forward.”
The Career Pathways Program is a partnership between Mastery Schools of Camden, Camden Education Fund, and Camden Works. Prior to the program’s launch, Camden Education Fund commissioned ALTA Impact Partners to identify local employers hiring for entry-level positions at high volume. These employers were then interviewed; three were selected to work with high school students in the pilot year. All employers selected offer full-time roles with opportunities for advancement.
“Our vision is for every senior in the city of Camden to graduate with a strong post-secondary plan,” said Naeha Dean, executive director of the Camden Education Fund. “This program is a citywide collaboration with a laser-focus on giving students a successful transition to the workforce. Thanks to the tremendous team at Mastery and the dedication of our employer partners, the Career Pathways program provides students with a structured, supportive, and gradual on-ramp to launch their careers.”
Camden Works, a project of Camden Community Partnership, is committed to linking Camden residents with local employment opportunities. To date, Camden Works has supported 500 residents in securing jobs within the local economy. All three employers participating in the Career Pathways programs are members of Camden Works.
“Our children are our future. We are proud to be a part of an effort that rallies organizations across the city to come together and create opportunities for young people,” said Dana Redd, Chair of the Camden Community Partnership Board and former Mayor of Camden. “From local employers stepping up to provide pathways to full-time jobs, to schools investing in real-world skills and preparation, to nonprofits providing the space and resources to close gaps, the Career Pathways program is a model for smart, strategic planning that will produce the outcomes we want to see: more young people successfully transitioning to adulthood.”
The program will continue next year with a second cohort of students. Graduating students from this first-year, who have secured jobs, will also continue to receive support through their first-year of employment, meeting quarterly and participating in ongoing counseling from their Career Path Advisor at Mastery.