image courtesy Catalyst Connection
Through the new Catalyst Connections program, seniors interested in manufacturing careers will be able to earn a free career certification and high school credit while they are Baldwin students.
“It is a state recognized, pre-apprenticeship program for industrial manufacturing,” social studies teacher Natalie Grattan said. “They focus on getting students the certifications to either go work directly in the manufacturing industry or use it as a stepping stone for students in particular career paths, such as engineering.”
The program, which is only for seniors, is fully virtual. It offers classes that students can take on their own time, either during study hall or outside of school.
“It doesn’t have to be just outside of school. There is an opportunity within school to do it. Right now it is not a formalized class at Baldwin, but we will support it,” counselor Noel Santini said.
Seven career certifications, including Safety and Quality, Manufacturing Processes and Production, and Maintenance Awareness, are available. Each takes one semester to earn, and each opens opportunities for careers, college internships, and employability after college.
“Those are great things to put on your resume going forward,” Santini said.
“Students need to start thinking outside of the box,’ Grattan said. “It’s not just a check sheet to meet every requirement. It’s ‘what have you done to go above and beyond?’ ”
The manufacturing field is experiencing major staff shortages, so experienced grads are in high demand. Through this program, Grattan and Santini hope to prepare Baldwin students for these opportunities.
“There’s a standard that you’ve met that just makes you more employable,” Grattan said of the certifications. “This is something colleges are already looking for.”
Spots remain open, and rising seniors can express interest by contacting Grattan or Santini. Though there is usually a cost for these programs, this certification program is free for Baldwin students.
“This program will set you up with a job after you leave high school,” Santini said.
For companies, the program is beneficial.
“You’re getting the free education and skill, and (the company) is getting a great employee,” Grattan said.
For Santini, the program has a clear purpose.
“The main goal is to set BHS students up for success after they’re done here,” Santini said, “And I think that programs like these … only open the door for other opportunities,” Santini said.