Program provides seniors with workplace education


Eli Traud

Careers and society teacher Natalie Grattan has a PartnerUp aspect of class which prepares seniors for career success.

Eli Traud and Tumi Ojo

Senior Anthony Defazio plans to go into carpentry after he graduates, and he hopes to have an edge through the workplace education he gains through the PartnerUp program. 

Students enrolled in Natalie Grattan’s Career and Society: Pittsburgh PartnerUp class are required to participate in the program, which is run by PNC. The goal of this program is to set up Pittsburgh area high school seniors for success after graduation. 

“I chose this because I felt that college wasn’t for me. I don’t like the style of school. I’m more of a hands-on person,” Defazio said.  

The program has five individual sessions that are each two hours long and focus on different themes that are important to the workplace, such as healthcare and retirement. Students who do well are then able to interview for jobs with the organizations that partner with the program. 

There is work that must be completed by participants in between sessions, such as creating their resume. At each session, there are corporate partners who attend to not only inform students about the jobs they want to fill, but also to observe how students work. 

Some of the students in the PartnerUp program go directly to the workforce after graduating, while others go to college. When students simultaneously attend college and work with one of the Pittsburgh Partners, they receive tuition assistance and are able to network for future opportunities.  The program allows students to work with Pittsburgh employers to gain knowledge that will be beneficial when looking for a job. 

Students can participate in interviews when the program ends in May. These seniors also receive letters with results by the time they graduate.

While the PartnerUp program originated in 2018, this year is Baldwin’s second year participating in the program. Since PartnerUp has been a big success in other districts, Grattan said she expects it to continue to grow in popularity here at Baldwin.

“Absolutely it will grow. There are 40 seats to fill, but we did not quite fill them all. However, other schools locally have to run a lottery to determine who gets the seats,” Grattan said.

Senior Oliva Los plans on attending college but still feels the program will be beneficial to her after she graduates.  Los said the program offers an opportunity to work closely with future employees so she will be able to stand out among other applicants in the future. 

“I am attending college. This program just allows for different organizations to hear from me and hopefully, in college, I will be able to come back to these big organizations, like Comcast and PNC, for internships,” Los said. 

Senior Anna Abbiatici believes that her participation in the program will benefit her when it comes time to find a career.

“This program will help me succeed in my next career steps. Even if I don’t take a potential interview at the end, I’ll have the knowledge for the future,” Abbiatici said.

Grattan views the program as a helpful tool to help students become successful in their lives after high school. 

“I think it is an exciting opportunity for students who may not know what comes next,” Grattan said.