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The Edison Local School District is setting its sights on preparing students for the future by promoting career pathways.

   The district’s vision centers on the three E’s –enroll, enlist and employ—and officials hope to have each senior connected to one or more of the categories each year. To help see it through, longtime Edison High School Guidance Counselor Leah Eft now serves as the district’s career pathways coach and will work closely with all three school buildings to coordinate activity. Eft kicked off her program in September by addressing freshman English classes at EHS, but she also visits Stanton and John Gregg Elementary Schools to reach the younger crowd. She divides her time between John Gregg on Mondays, EHS on Tuesday through Thursday and Stanton on Fridays and her goal is to get students interested in enrolling in college, enlisting in the military or employed in the workforce and also encourages teachers to start such conversations with their pupils.

   “This year, my focus is going to be grades 5-12 and each year I will add something,” she said. “My goal is to work with approximately 960 students—or 120 students per class. It gives kids a purpose in career planning and to be prepared with college and career readiness.”

   Professional skills will be implemented at each school so students are more employable and have better chances of obtaining jobs upon graduation. Students will also have an Ohio Means Jobs backpack and a binder portfolio kept by the schools, so by the time they graduate the will have a career interest inventory, some ideas toward a living wage, pathways to reach gainful employment and other details. Eft’s initial talk with the English classes was to register students and also perform a career inventory which incorporates pathways, budget planning, organizing and updating potential job information, college searches and resume writing. She plans to target job searches for sophomores, budget and lifestyle planning for juniors and resume building for seniors along with a personality inventory for junior and senior high students.

   Eft said it was essential for students to learn the 15 professional skills from work ethic and team work to professionalism and punctuality.

   “This can make you more career-ready and it looks good on transcripts and shows employers you are prepared. There’s a huge push in the state and a lot of graduation requirements are leaning towards career readiness,” she added.

   The new requirements currently affect EHS freshmen and would help them meet all course completion and credits to graduate. Requirements for the class of 2020 include having three pathways, modified additional requirements or permanent requirements, but that is reduced for the classes of ’21 and ’22 to three pathways or permanent requirements. For classes of 2023 and beyond, they must only meet the permanent requirements.

    Meanwhile, Eft will reach out to the fifth- and sixth-grade classes to give them a start on the career pathway.

   “At the elementary level, I am working in conjunction with the school counselors to implement classroom lessons on career readiness and essential soft skills.  At the high school level, I am working on the Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal to be on each student’s transcript and essential/soft skills throughout the district.  Some other things I am currently working on is a yearly calendar for the district, a senior day in partnership with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce in which seniors get the opportunity to network intimately with local businesses, college and career application days, a career expo for grades 5-8 in partnership with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and career tech program, and a reality/lifestyle day for our freshmen and/or sophomores,” she said.

   Eft is looking for teachers who are willing to focus on an essential or soft skill throughout the year in their classrooms and send information on their career readiness focus for the year. Another goal is to mark Career Week on Nov. 11-15 an incorporate a career expo at each school for grades 5-8.

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