Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry Visits Milton Hershey School
On Friday, Jan. 18, Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry (L&I) Jerry Oleksiak visited Milton Hershey School to learn about the school’s award-winning Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and how it provides students with the skills they need to pursue in-demand jobs.
Oleksiak toured several of the school’s high school CTE classrooms, including the automotive technology shop, culinary arts kitchen, and construction and carpentry shop.
“We want to provide the opportunity for our students to enter the workforce in their career field of choice directly after high school,” said MHS President Pete Gurt ’85. “Our Career and Technical Education program provides the tools and guidance needed to obtain those fulfilling and sustainable careers without necessarily having to go to college.”
Dave Curry, MHS Director of Career and Technical Education, described how elementary students receive early career exposure through career-based projects, hands-on CTE fairs, and frequent interactions with high school students.
“We start our career exposure in third grade and have elementary students working with our high schoolers,” Curry said. “Exposing them to the programs at the high school level gives our students a vision for their futures.”
At the middle school level, MHS students benefit from hands-on, project-based learning in several career pathways along with design thinking exposure. When they enter high school during ninth grade, students enroll in exploration courses before narrowing their focus and choosing one of 12 career pathways:
- Agriculture & Natural Resources
- Automotive Technology
- Business/Financial Management & Accounting
- Computer Science & Innovation
- Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management Services
- Education and Human Services (beginning in fall of 2019)
- Electronic Media & Journalism
- Engineering & Design
- Graphic Communication Technologies
- Health Science
- Law, Public Safety & Security
“We’re always working to create opportunities for students to individualize their learning,” Curry shared. “They get hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom, most of which will culminate in more than 80 industry recognized certifications [offered to students].”
In the MHS classes of 2012 to 2018, 100 percent of graduating seniors earned at least one industry-recognized certification in his or her area of study. Curry also shared the authentic work experiences available to students, including a summer internship program, co-op program, and pre-apprenticeship opportunities.
The Department of Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) and the Apprenticeship Council approved Milton Hershey School’s pre-apprenticeship program in February of 2018 as well as the school’s hybrid carpentry apprenticeship program.
Learn more about Milton Hershey School’s Career and Technical Education program.