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Preparing Students for Life not only happens inside the classrooms. At HCPS, we take it to the next level and give students access to real world mentors in our community.

How our school-to-work program is preparing students for life

January 13, 2020 - Partners in Education

Preparing Students for Life not only happens inside the classrooms.

At Hillsborough County Public Schools, we take it to the next level and give students access to real world mentors in our community.

The school-to-work program is a three-way partnership between HCPS, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay along with corporate and community partners to provide one-on-one mentoring in the workplace for high school juniors and seniors. The end goal is to continue improving graduation rates.

For this story, we take you to Nielsen in Oldsmar, Florida. Best known for measuring audiences for television, radio and newspapers in media markets.

“Bigs” at Nielsen are helping their “Littles” with face-to-face communication skills, phone etiquette, resume writing and interview skills, handling personal finances, filling out financial aid and much more.

Little Sister, Maisy McIntosh and Big Sister, Candyce Miller, have been paired for the last 2 years.

“When we first met, we were just getting to know each other, but by the end of our first visit we realized we had many things in common,” said Miller.

Mcintosh, a senior at Leto High School, said Candyce not only helped her during hard times in her life but has taught many important life lessons.

"Many of the things we learn here is future oriented,” said Mcintosh. “Learning how to apply for scholarships, learning about finance and really just showing us how to be a productive citizen.”

Maisy and Candyce meet once a month at Nielsen. Mentor Candyce loves that the “school-to-work” gives students exposure to local businesses.  

“Many times kids don’t get exposure to corporate America,” said Candyce. “To be able to be thrown into this program and learn from different people is just amazing.”

Students from across our district are partnered with companies like Nielsen Media, Valley National Bank, Moffitt Cancer Center and the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Some students have been able to receive jobs at these companies while receiving lifelong friendships with their “Bigs”.

To learn more, contact Jennifer Libby at JenniferL@bbbstampabay.org