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Learn and Earn 2019 – another great year!

Learn and Earn 2019 has wrapped up with the annual pizza and cake celebration!

Learn and Earn helps Allegheny County youth find summer jobs where they can gain work experience and responsibility, explore different career paths, and make some spending money.

JFCS runs several refugee youth programs year round, among which is summer participation in Learn and Earn. This year a record 65 kids worked at 15 different worksites!

New this year, Holly Niemi and Kate Musselman, ESL teachers in the Baldwin High School (BHS) system, created a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Career Exploration program for Learn and Earn. ESL students, mostly children of immigrants and refugees, learned about different STEAM careers. They took field trips and listened to guest speakers.

“The benefits to our English learners are two-fold,” said Ms. Musselman. “They are learning a new language, and new academic content.”

For example:

  • For science, students spent a week with a BHS biology teacher doing hands-on experiments and labs, including a field trip to South Park for a nature scavenger-hunt and facts about local ecology.
  • Technology and Engineering included some time in the BHS fabrication lab designing, fabricating, and manufacturing picture frames that were personalized to represent each student’s culture and values.  We also talked about technology and engineering jobs, and had a Q & A session with a local architect.
  •  Art was led by a BHS photography teacher who taught a photography lesson in preparation for a walking tour with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, where the kids were able to take their own pictures.
  • For Mathematics, a BHS math teacher planned financial literacy activities, including a session with representatives from our local Citizens Bank and a visit to the local branch to open their own accounts.

“This practical application of academic subjects dissolves the divide between school and life,” said Dr. Niemi.  “The program is also a way for our students to gain confidence in their social language, academic content, and community resources.  Ultimately, it is helping our secondary English learners become more independent and self-sufficient.”

WESA radio’s recently interviewed some of the Learn and Earn participants of the STEAM Career Exploration program – take a look!

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