Career exploration programs offered through York County Alliance for Learning

Alyssa Jackson
  • York County Alliance for Learning is offering 24 different programs in career exploration.
  • Only students from partner high schools can participate in the programs throughout the county.
  • Different York County companies will help host these exploration programs.

High school students looking to get ahead and explore different career opportunities can do so through the York County Alliance for Learning. YCAL recently announced its 2016-17 career-exploration programs, which are free of charge for high schools that have partnered with the organization.

There are 24 programs on the schedule, each hosted by 20 York County companies. Programs include one on entrepreneurship offered at York College, a creative careers program that ends with an art exhibit, and a law program, in which students take a tour of a courthouse and hold a mock trial for practice, according to YCAL executive director Kevin Appnel.

The programs are designed to give students hands-on experience in different careers. Programs meet for several hours during the school day or are offered after school on a recurring basis. Each program is hosted by a local business or educational partner, allowing students to get information and guidance from professionals.

“Having worked in higher education and in personal finance, I’ve seen plenty of instances where a student, and sometimes their parents, are left with the financial burden of having pursued a career path that may not have been right for them,” Appnel said in a news release.

These career exploration programs have been offered for several years, Appnel said, but YCAL has continued to expand and improve on them. Only students from schools that have partnered with YCAL are able to participate in the programs. Appnel said that all public schools in York County have partnered with the nonprofit organization except for Dover Area School District and Central York School District. York Catholic High School is also a partner. A full list of partner schools, and a list of available programs, is on YCAL's website.

"These programs can be very valuable in helping guide a student to find the right fit for them, whether it’s through vocational training, apprenticeship or the more traditional two- and four-year higher-education route. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that, on average, a student will change his or her major three times. There is a cost associated with those changes, and we’re trying to reduce that through these programs," Appnel said in a news release.

Students interested in participating in one of the programs are encouraged to talk with their high school guidance or career counselor.