MHS Students Benefitting from New Education & Human Services Career Pathway
Milton Hershey School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program launched its new Education and Human Services career pathway with the start of the 2019-20 school year. Twelfth in a group of technical training tracks intended to provide hands-on learning that aligns with current job market demands, the pathway focuses on professions within the education and human services industries. MHS added the new career pathway in response to job market research and student interest.
“This pathway is for anyone looking to pursue education or human services careers, including work as a teacher, guidance counselor, psychologist, case manager, social worker or anything related to these fields,” said Jenny Slatt, Education and Human Services teacher.
Using her extensive professional background in the discipline, Slatt developed the curriculum last spring with a focus on how students would apply in-class lessons to real-life situations.
Slatt was thoughtful when creating materials, recognizing the wide scope of specialties within the pathway. “The big thing to me is to balance all of the interests. This pathway can’t be too heavy in early childhood or social work, and it has to touch on all interests within the pathway,” she said.
Kya Han, an MHS sophomore, wants to pursue a career in elementary education. She appreciates the variety of experiences she will receive in the Education and Human Services track.
“This [pathway] will give me the tools to fulfill my dream,” Kya said. “Even if I don’t want to go into teaching and I want to go into social work, I will be able to do that. This pathway supports anything in human services and will look good on my college resume.”
Slatt plans to explore early childhood, elementary, and secondary education, counseling, social work, psychology, appreciating diverse learners, and recognizing the importance of lifelong learning with her students. Beyond the basic functions of each job, students also will have the opportunity to learn the more practical side of each profession, including educational requirements, job prevalence and career outlook, and average salaries over the course of a career. The program will expand in the coming years with apprenticeship and certification opportunities for upperclassmen.
Classroom materials center around case studies, which provide students with real-world examples to discuss and debate. “I like the case studies because we see different scenarios we might have to work with, and we problem solve ways to approach them,” Kya said. “By doing this, I am going to be prepared and know how to deal with things in the future.”
Besides traditional desks and tables, the classroom is designed to make learning come to life. Complete with an early childhood instruction area and a counseling corner outfitted with couches, end tables, and soft lighting, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a space that simulates an authentic work environment.
Collective student response over the first few weeks has been positive. Slatt shares that her students tell her they are excited to come to class and learn because this is what they are passionate about.