Career Training is a Key Component of Our Cyber School Program
As a public school, CCA believes it is our responsibility to the community and taxpayers to prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow while teaching them the importance of giving back to society.
To carry out that mission, we have created unique learning opportunities focused on career readiness and productive community engagement. We couple that with success skills and career exploration beginning in kindergarten, hands-on learning at all ages through our coursework, clubs and career exploration field trips that ultimately involve the community, and college preparation services that help students find the right fit for their future without committing them to decades of personal debt.
CCA Prepares Students for the Future
The customized education students receive at CCA is rooted in our belief that school must prepare students for more than just graduation. Our mission has always been to deliver a customized learning experience that prepares students to succeed in school and in life, whether they choose to attend college or a technical school after graduation, enter the workforce or serve our country by enlisting in the military.
When we combine our CCAWorks® initiative, Career Pathways program and college preparation services with our hands-on approach to learning that is tailored to a student’s interests, academic needs and abilities, our graduates enter the world well prepared to succeed in whatever path they choose.
CCAWorks®: Our Career-Readiness Initiative
As a public cyber charter school, CCA is bringing innovation to public education in Pennsylvania. Not only do we offer a flexible, customized curriculum designed around our students’ individual interests, skills and educational needs, we provide hands-on learning in career sectors so that our students will be able to contribute to their communities.
Our CCAWorks® initiative is a schoolwide commitment to all students:
- To provide them with 21st century skills
- To enable them to discover their future careers
- To help them succeed in their future careers and in life
You will find elements of the CCAWorks® initiative in everything CCA has to offer at the elementary, middle and high school levels as well as in our college and career preparation services.
One of the most visible ways we provide hands-on learning and modern career skills is through AgWorks at CCA®, located at our Capital Campus in Harrisburg. At 6,100 square feet, it is the largest state-of-the-art, public educational aquaponics facility in the United States.
In addition to learning about and working in a controlled environment agriculture center, students gain training and knowledge in a variety of career areas, such as hydroponics, aeroponics, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, supply chain management, business, STEM, and art and design. They can pursue college-level research as well through the facility’s research and development lab, tissue culture lab and genetics lab.
Since AgWorks at CCA® opened in December 2018, CCA students have grown and donated hundreds of pounds of produce to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
In 2020, TechWorks at CCA®, headquartered in Pittsburgh, began providing students with hands-on learning in several areas, including information technology, computer programming, drones, advanced manufacturing, and robotics. In the future, we plan to open a MedWorks at CCA™ facility in southeastern Pennsylvania to expose our students to medical and healthcare careers.
This career preparation for high school students is unparalleled in the state. It signifies to the higher education and business communities in Pennsylvania that CCA students are committed students and committed community members who have career-ready skills to put to work in our towns and cities. Both CCA students and our communities benefit from our CCAWorks™ initiative.
Career-Focused Courses and Clubs
We offer a multitude of career-focused courses and clubs for students of all grade levels to discover opportunities and interests throughout their education at CCA.
In elementary school, our guidance counselors teach CCA students success skills. Our students learn essential skills and strategies, such as building empathy, self-exploration and problem-solving. Our elementary students also begin an early exploration of college and career options, often by learning about the professions involved in a subject matter in their core courses. For instance, when studying plants, a science class might explore what a botanist and a landscaper do; a math class might learn how painters and accountants use math formulas on the job.
In middle school and high school, our guidance and counseling team works on career planning with students, including researching careers, job shadowing, honing interview skills, resume building, drafting cover letters and learning workplace norms.
Our high school guidance and counseling services also help students choose academic courses that offer career- and college-readiness skills. Students can take courses in a variety of disciplines, such as entrepreneurship, accounting, 3D art and design, cosmetology, restaurant management, aquaponics, coding, introduction to engineering and medical terminology, just to name a few.
Our more than two dozen clubs allow our students to continue exploring career and college options with groups for everything from theater arts and digital storytelling to gaming and computers.
Our courses and clubs not only give CCA students an expansive educational experience, but they are designed to keep students focused on the future.
Career Awareness Activities
Work-based learning brings the classroom to the workplace and the workplace to the classroom. This provides students with a well-rounded skill set that goes beyond academics and includes the foundational skills to succeed in college and the working world.
Although our career- and college-focused courses offer hands-on learning to introduce our students to new career paths, there is no better way to learn about the jobs of today and the opportunities of tomorrow than directly in the workplace.
CCA helps students start determining which internships and future careers might be a good fit through our career exploration events, which are intensive, hands-on field trips throughout the state for middle and high school students.
The events offer behind-the-scenes experiences in a variety of careers. These college and career prep events can help students find a passion or show them the reality that a certain job is not right for them.
Some of the career fields CCA’s events explore include:
- Health care. These trips are designed to have students think beyond doctors and nurses to consider X-ray technologists, medical scribes and countless other specialties. In past trips, CCA students have visited a helicopter trauma unit and observed open-heart surgery.
- Animal care. With one study showing 68 percent of U.S. households having a pet, the veterinary science field is booming. Even students who are not interested in the sciences can be involved in the animal welfare landscape through marketing, financial and fundraising professions. CCA field trips have exposed students to the many possibilities through behind-the-scenes tours of veterinary clinics, zoos and humane societies.
- Media and entertainment. CCA students have stepped behind the spotlights to learn about operating TV cameras and editing equipment at major market TV and radio studios, and they have learned about the extensive effort it takes to produce a minor league sporting event, from team managers and athletic directors to sports agents and public relations professionals.
- Protective services. CCA students have learned about crime scene investigations, canine units and the manufacturing of protective gear through visits to police barracks.
Students in every region of the state have opportunities to attend these field trips, and most trips are free or a minimal cost. CCA students may attend any Career Exploration event offered anywhere in the state.
Helping Students Find Their Career Pathway
We founded our K-12 Career Pathways program as a flexible way to help students discover and explore different careers within a field of interest. It is part of the schoolwide commitment we made with our CCAWorks® initiative to offer career preparation to high school students, as well as college preparation services. Our philosophy of providing students with 21st century skills and ensuring they are both college- and career-ready is part of the educational experience for all our cyber school students.
We introduce elementary students to success skills and early career exploration. Middle school students continue that exploration and in eighth grade begin experiencing career and college preparation.
Although students can join a Career Pathway at any point in high school, we highly recommend they do so in 9th or 10th grade to give them sufficient time to complete the pathway. CCA offers five Career Pathways for students to gain knowledge, experience and skills that can be used following high school graduation.
CCA students can choose from these Career Pathways:
- Arts and Communication. Career fields and programs of study that are related to humanities, media arts, literary arts, technical arts, performing arts and visual arts.
- Business, Finance and Information Technology. Career fields and programs of study that are related to the business industry.
- Engineering and Industrial Technology. Career fields and programs of study that are related to the technologies necessary to design, develop, install and maintain physical systems.
- Human Services. Career fields and programs of study that are related to economic systems, political systems, social services and personal services.
- Science and Health. Career fields and programs of study that are related to the promotion of health, as well as the treatment of injuries, conditions and diseases.
Students use Career Pathways to identify the appropriate courses to take and help discover internship possibilities they can participate in during high school. Because of the flexibility of our online program, CCA students can gain career experience when other students in traditional schools are required to be at their desks.
CCA students also can participate in the ABC Keystone Program, which offers pre-apprenticeship programs in carpentry, construction, electrical, HVAC, heavy equipment operator, plumbing and sheet metal.
College and Career Training for Cyber Students
CCA students can get a jump-start on their college careers by taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and participating in CCA’s College in the High School program.
AP courses provide college-level study and, at the end of each course, students can choose to take an AP exam in the course. Scores may be accepted as college credit depending on the policies of individual colleges and universities.
Through our College in the High School program, families can invest in advanced courses for students to earn college credit. Our high school guidance and counseling services staff works with our college partners in this program to present challenging courses and match students with classes that align with their career or college interests. CCA coordinates with postsecondary institutions to offer college-level content and credit.
CCA’s full-time, certified counselors are focused on helping students navigate the maze presented by college applications, financial aid and scholarship programs.
They help our students set post-graduation goals and complete college-interest surveys. They teach our students how to research potential colleges and their costs, offer college test preparation courses for the SAT and ACT exams, help students understand and prepare for college and scholarship applications, and provide information regarding financial aid.
The high school guidance and counseling services even host virtual visits by coordinating with local college and technical school admissions counselors to speak directly with interested juniors and seniors. Students can ask the admissions representative questions during these real-time virtual meetings. Each tour is recorded for students who cannot attend a session or become interested in the school at a later time.
College and Career Preparation Guidance at CCA
CCA is focused on the future. Our college and career prep offerings will help students from all walks of life discover and explore their interests. When they graduate, our students will be armed with 21st century skills that will set them up for success in any path they choose. Contact us to learn more about the unique college- and career-readiness programs at CCA. Or, contact a CCA parent to learn how this will be the first step in your child’s journey to success.