Student 5.0 program preparing high school graduates to enter the workforce

Student 5.0 program helping high school graduates enter the workforce
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 7:29 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - It’s almost high school graduation season.

As high school seniors prepare for the next chapter in their lives, some are opting out of college and preparing to enter the workforce.

One program is helping students figure out their next steps.

Students at Synergy High School in East Hartford are getting a lesson in conflict resolution and how to handle it in the workforce.

They are high school seniors and will be graduating in just a few weeks.

“I’m ready, I’m ready to just be done with school. Start stepping into as they say the real world. Start my life. Get a career started,” said Josue Casado, senior at Synergy High School

Casado knows that college isn’t for him.

“I like hands on stuff. I wanted to follow into my father’s footsteps with doing construction and stuff like that,” Casado said.

That’s why he and his peers are in the Student 5.0 program, a career launch program helping students who are not college bound figure out their future.

“It is not a college or bust situation. That’s a myth. College is great. But it’s not the only great post-secondary plan for a high school senior,” said Sheryl McNamee, Director of Public Affairs for Ready CT.

East Hartford is one of four school districts in the state currently running the Student 5.0 program.

“I heard about the opportunities that they had, how they could get me straight into the opportunity I wanted and it was just like a light bulb moment. I was like that’s what I need to get forward,” said Hecxio Melendez, senior at Synergy High School.

Melendez is interested in becoming an electrician.

The Student 5.0 program is helping him figure out how to achieve that goal.

“It’s been helping me build my soft skills and build those skills that I’ve been having trouble with like organization,” Melendez said.

Workshops are held every week and students learn how to advance their soft skills.

They also have one-on-one conversations with mentors who guide them on how to be ready for the workforce.

“I want them to have the best possible experience when it comes to finding a job. We’re not looking to get them a job just to have a job. We’re looking to get them a career that launches them into the future,” said Yamil Cobo, Career Launch Coordinator for Student 5.0.

Students will have mentors available to them even after they graduate.

“I learned what I can get into. And the steps to go towards it and what to expect when I do achieve that goal of mine to get my career started,” Casado said.

The program was created during the pandemic through Ready CT and is looking at the potential of expanding to more school districts.