Roughly six years ago, the Niswonger Foundation announced CareerConnect, a workforce readiness and career exploration initiative for 10th through 12th graders. The program, in partnership with schools and local industry, was designed to provide local students the opportunity to explore career paths, develop soft skills, earn workforce readiness credentials, and gain real-world work experience.
From a desire to help guide and support students in building the critical skills necessary for future workplace success, the focus of the project is on high school students who are most in need of developing an understanding of career opportunities. Students who may not be viewed as college-bound are, historically, among the least likely to receive career counseling in many school environments. These students are provided simulated and real-world work experiences, as well as mentoring support under Niswonger’s program and partnership with local industry.
Andrea Lewis, Business Development and Event Coordinator for Northeast Community Credit Union, was approached by the Niswonger Program Coordinator at the recommendation of a local high school counselor. Northeast Community Credit Union is known in its area as perhaps the most active financial institution with regard to providing free financial education for students.
As Niswonger focuses on rural county schools that typically have fewer resources, the partnership has been hugely successful in helping reach the organization’s goals, with Northeast Community Credit Union providing staff and using the curriculum it developed in-house for use in its high school branches. The program has been a tremendous success.