Bridges to College Success, a conference aimed at addressing the factors that pose difficulties for students transitioning to college and what it takes to prepare them for today’s job market, will be held Monday, October 9, at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of college students don’t complete their degrees in four years, in part because of obstacles they face when living on their own for the first time, the need some have for remedial courses and other transition issues.
Pitt-Greensburg and the Consortium for Public Education are bringing together K-12 educators with staff and faculty from post-secondary institutions to explore the issues that can make the transition to college difficult, discuss possible improvements and find out from business leaders what kinds of job market and workplace expectations college grads will face when they graduate. The Conference is timely for K-12 educators as they seek to meet new ESSA and 339 plan requirements. School districts have been encouraged to send teams of teachers, counselors, and administrators to participate in the conference.
Kicking off the day will be a panel discussion with regional employers moderated by Bill Flanagan, producer and host of “Our Region’s Business,” to discuss skills students need to be successful in the workforce. Among the Allegheny County and Westmoreland County community and business leaders participating in the panel will be representatives of the American Association for Employment in Education, Consol Energy, Excela Health, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Westmoreland County Human Services, and the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce.
“For students to succeed in the transition to college and beyond, it is important to create a dialogue between educators in our K-12 schools and college faculty and staff,” said Mary Kay Babyak, executive director of the Consortium of Public Education. “Participants in this conference will explore college academic expectations and the potential challenges many kids going to college face. We’ll also have discussions about support services available to students and the myriad of opportunities they’ll find to grow in ways that will enhance their college experience and better prepare them for careers.”
“We’re excited to be bringing educators together with leaders of business, industry, and the community who are committed to college and career readiness—all for the purpose of collaborating on how we can best prepare students for each new phase of their education and in their future careers in our region and beyond,” said Heather Kabala, director of the Office of Admissions at Pitt-Greensburg.
Other topics for the breakout sessions and roundtable discussions include:
- Core Academic Skills
- Student Success Programs
- Transitions and Self-Advocacy
- Student Engagement in Research
- Support in the College Environment
- Baseline and Transferrable Skills
- Alternative Paths to College
- Making College Affordable
- Meaning of College for Students
The conference also illustrates how colleges and universities in the region are working together to ensure that students are college and career-ready, equipped with the skills needed by the region’s industries and businesses. Session facilitators represent Alderson-Broadus University, Allegheny Conference, California University of Pennsylvania, La Roche College, Penn Highlands Community College, PHEAA, Pitt-Greensburg, St. Vincent College, Seton Hill University, and Slippery Rock University.
About the Consortium for Public Education:
The Consortium for Public Education, a nonprofit organization working with more than 40 school districts across western Pennsylvania. For more than 30 years the Consortium for Public Education has supported students and educators in public schools across the region by connecting schools and community stakeholders—businesses, residents, service organizations and policymakers—through networks and partnerships; cultivating educational leaders; and creating opportunities for students to engage in real-world experiences so they can develop the skills necessary for future success. By advocating for education, for engagement and for equity, the Consortium is working to ensure that all students graduate from high school with formal, viable plans for post-secondary education and careers.
About the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg:
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 29 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Nursing, Healthcare Management, Public Policy, and Education, as well as 19 minors and five certificate programs. With nearly 1,500 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community.