CCAC partners with Point Park for career readiness program

Pathway to Professional Careers Coordinator,
Cara Fulton.

Pathway to Professional Careers Coordinator, Cara Fulton.

Frankie Kavalir, View Writer

After the fading start of a new year (and a new decade), failed resolutions bombard once hopeful people with overpriced gym bills and aggressive missed Duolingo notifications. However, fostering a new start for education, career and life still lies within reach, and you don’t have to do it on your own.
The Pathway to Professional Careers is a grant funded program in collaboration with Point Park, Partners4Work and CCAC. Coordinator Cara Fulton heads the career readiness program at CCAC alongside Coordinator Michael Clark at Point Park.
In 2017, Point Park University began their Cooperative Education, or co-op, program, where students can earn up to 12 credits doing real-world, paid work experience. In order to qualify, CCAC students must be eligible for TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, though they do not need to be receiving benefits. In other words, this applies to U.S. citizens living in Pittsburgh or Allegheny County that are between the ages of 14 and 24 and making, as an individual, $2,446 or less.
“Typically, TANF, they’re looking at the whole household income, but in this case for this program we’re only looking at the student’s income,” Fulton said. “The goal is that I’m kind of getting them career ready with the one-on-one coaching, resume reviews, mock interviews, and also getting them experiential opportunities.”
While the aim is for students to earn their associate degree at CCAC and then transfer to Point Park for the co-op, Fulton also works to set goals with CCAC students for their careers and education now.
“My job is to kind of recruit students but also kind of be their one-on-one coach,” Fulton said. “So I would tell the student ‘I’m your champion, I’m your partner,’ and so they can’t slip through the cracks in this program because we do have to set goals, those goals have to be matched and they have to meet with me regularly.”
This program was not only born out of desire to help low-income students, but also out of efforts to encourage students to enter the Pittsburgh area workforce
“The young people are coming—they’re going to school, but they aren’t staying here, and those born here aren’t staying here,” Fulton said. “So part of that initiative is not only to get them to go to Point Park, but also to keep them within our region.”
CCAC students interested in entering the Pathway to Professional Careers program should do so sooner rather than later; enrollment closes at the end of May, and it is never to early to get a head start.
For more information, contact Cara Fulton at cfulton@ccac.edu or text 412-712-7560.