Shaler Area High School recently began an after school program called WAVE, or Workforce and Vocational Education, making Shaler Area one of five high schools in Allegheny county to participate in this program.
WAVE, a new STEM initiative, is a free after-school program sponsored by the Allegheny County Sanitation Authority (ALCOSAN).
“WAVE is a career awareness program. Students who participate do not receive specific job training, just exposure to various careers,” Twila Simmons-Walker, the manager of Scholastic Outreach and Education at ALCOSAN stated.
WAVE will meet after school, one day a week for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. The curriculum is structured to be one-third online and two-thirds hands-on activities, including mock interviews, activities, and field trips to local education and industry partners. Free food and transportation will be provided for all who attend.
ALCOSAN, which treats wastewater for over 83 communities, began this initiative in order to better prepare students for job opportunities immediately after high school, but will benefit students won’t be entering the workforce right away..
“The ALCOSAN Workforce and Vocational Exploration (WAVE) After School Program can be beneficial to both college-bound and trade-school students. It introduces students to careers in the skilled trades and STEM that are available at ALCOSAN. Whether students go on to college or a trade school or seek employment directly after high school, they will benefit from knowing the types of jobs that are available and what skills are necessary to them,” Walker said.
WAVE also holds all of the requirements to be considered a STEM program, meaning that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are included in the curriculum.
“When most people think of STEM, they think of college bound students, but 50% of the jobs available for students in the STEM field do not require a college degree. In school people are pushed for college, but if half of the jobs out there in the STEM field don’t require a college degree, we should be spending some time helping students transition to those jobs,” Dr. Timothy Royall, high school principal, said.
Exposing students to both jobs and skills needed for them is exactly the goal of ALCOSAN through WAVE. Although WAVE does not offer specific jobs to WAVE participants, those who participate are encouraged to apply for entry level positions.
“Jobs are not earmarked for students who participate in WAVE, but those who participate are encouraged to apply for positions. People hired for those jobs are trained by ALCOSAN. Candidates for some other positions must have specific skills or credentials before they can apply,” Walker said.
Some of the jobs highlighted in the program can include engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and chemical engineering positions.
“It’s a great opportunity to get connections into jobs. They can handle up to 100 kids. So if we have 10 kids we will do it, if we have 100 kids we will do that,” Dr. Royall said.
To enroll in WAVE, applications can be found in the guidance office or contact Lisa George at (412) 734-6253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first after school meeting is to start at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, October 18.