BaySCAN Home

Article: School-to-Career: More than Meets the Eye
by Ralph Manak, BaySCAN
Appeared in the North Bay Multimedia Association's August, 1999 Multimedia Reporter

MMNet Home



Listserv Archive
> Articles
Contact Info





©1999 BaySCAN


School-to-Career: More than Meets the Eye
by Ralph Manak

This is the first in a series of articles that will explore ideas and practical applications in "school-to-career."

In the March Newsletter, Camille Madfes introduced the NBMA to the idea of internships and invited members to participate in Marin County's internship program. Since then, student entries in the Best of the North Bay demonstrated the depth of their capabilities in new media, and Ann Smulka wrote about the growth of the North Bay new media industry in the her column, "A Few Words from the President." With a new school year about to begin, this article takes a step back to explore what we mean by "school-to-career," and points to multiple ways of getting involved in a structured school-to-career (STC) system.

The phrase "school-to-career" used to connote programs known for assisting "non-college bound" students through some form of vocational education. While this may have been effective for some students, it also promoted a two-tiered system that was inherently problematic-issues of access and equity became paramount and cast a raking light on the need for quality educational programs for all students.

In recent years, "school-to-career" has become synonymous with school reform in general, and is defined as: a standards-based educational system that integrates academic studies with real-world applications and work-based learning so that all students are better prepared for college, careers and life. In short, STC helps to break the barriers between school and the "real world" in ways that provide students with richer experiences-both in and out of school-and that enable students to better plan for and make decisions about their careers and lives.

In general, student participation in STC:

  • Improves chances of school completion and academic achievement
  • Increases understanding of academic instruction through relevancy
  • Expands career choices and direction
  • Supports student interests and passion for life-long learning
  • Prepares graduates with skills for success

Employer participation in STC:

  • Creates access to a better prepared workforce
  • Reduces time & resources spent on training, selection and recruitment
  • Reduces turnover and strengthens morale
  • Improves productivity
  • Enhances reputation and strengthens brand image
  • Provides Return on Investment (ROI) through quality work by students

For more details on benefits to students and employers, see the National Employer Leadership Council's (NELC) recently published study, Intuitions Confirmed (

Ways to get involved in your county's STC system include student and teacher internships, mentoring (including tele-mentoring), job shadows, and industry-sponsored projects. In future articles these and other programs will be discussed in greater detail.

It takes employers, students, and teachers working together to build an effective STC system. The local STC partnerships have the tools to help employers get started; please contact them for more information. If you have your own ideas for getting involved, please contact Ralph Manak at the Bay Area School-to-Career Action Network (BaySCAN).

Camille Madfes, Marin County STC Partnership
   415-897-4201 ext 235 |
Helen Ramstad, Sonoma County STC Partnership
   707-524-2851 |
Ralph Manak, BaySCAN Multimedia Network
   415-507-6233 |