Building Dreamers; Helping High School Students See Career Opportunities

Online connections and VIS (virtual interactive sessions) with working adults via

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – April 22, 2016 - Sarah Parker wants to help her students get a picture of what life is like as an adult. Some, perhaps most, of her students have never visited a professional office or had to dress up for a fancy dinner at a sophisticated restaurant. But Ms. Parker has a solution. She uses a social technology platform for schools called Nepris and good old face-to-face interaction to help her students prepare for the future.

Mrs. Parker teaches Career and Technical Education (CTE) to eleventh and twelfth graders in Cleveland Heights High School in University Heights, Ohio. She is passionate about helping her students envision a future for themselves after graduation. One of her partners in this effort is AT&T which has a long standing commitment to engaging with schools (read more about AT&T employees mentoring of 1 million hours here).

Mrs. Parker sees the full picture. Students need more than academics to succeed. In the working world, they need to look and act as responsible adults would so she finds adults who can teach them how to be professional. She brings a clothing store associate from Men’s Wearhouse into her class so the students can actively participate in their Dress for Success seminar. They take field trips to restaurants so they can practice their etiquette. She also has connections with Junior Achievement which sends other adults into the classroom, each of whom represent a different company and give the students a diverse look at working opportunities.

With Nepris she can reach beyond the immediate vicinity to companies like AT&T. Mrs. Parker first introduced her class to their AT&T Ambassador, Dominique Belcher in a virtual Nepris session. Nepris finds and connects classrooms to professionals and experts from all over the world. (see a video about here). “Students interacted with Dominique Belcher from AT&T live and ‘on the air,’” said Mrs. Parker. “During the session, they also texted Dominique questions which she read and answered right there.”

The class and mentor have spoken together a few times now and Ms. Belcher has shared several valuable insights about being professional and how to act at a business luncheon. The students got to visit Ms. Belcher in her office, too. “The impact on my students was profoundly apparent,” added Mrs. Parker.

“Every time the students see our AT&T ambassador, they tell her that they want to work for AT&T,” she relays. “They have asked her about internship opportunities and job requirements. This partnership with AT&T has really gotten the kids excited about the possibilities of working for a great company.”

Real life experiences round out education in ways parents and teachers struggle to provide. With technology like Nepris and commitment from companies like AT&T, however, these barriers are overcome and the students reap great benefits.

Media contact to schedule an interview with Mrs. Parker and her students.

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