Lesson For Pottstown Students: Be Prepared!

POTTSTOWN PA – Before they attend even a single session this week to hear about future career choices, eighth grade students in the Pottstown, Spring-Ford, Pottsgrove, Owen J. Roberts, Boyertown, and Perkiomen Valley school districts have learned a valuable lesson about the working world:

It pays to be prepared.

The Western Montgomery County School-to-Work Partnership‘s two-day “Youth Career Leadership Conference,” at which hundreds of area students will be introduced to the careers of about 40 invited speakers, was to have begun this morning (Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011). It’s already been postponed, a casualty of the snowstorm weather forecasters predict will hit the area beginning tonight and continuing through Wednesday.

With so many guests, and so much transit coordination needed between districts, the partnership thought it best to avoid complications and disruptions. So the conference has been shifted to alternative snow dates – the potential need for which was planned months ago – of Thursday and Friday (Jan. 14-15), beginning both days at 9 a.m. on the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College.

The partnership is a self-sustaining group of business leaders, educators and other volunteers created 15 years ago to help show students the wide variety of job and career paths open to them. For many youths about to enter high school, its conference represents a real chance to start answering the question, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

Surprisingly, given the area’s mercurial winters, the conference has never been postponed. “This is the first time in our history that we have had to utilize our snow dates,” organizers said in an e-mail distributed Monday (Jan. 10) to participants. “We realize … the decision is being made early; however, we feel this will be one less thing to worry about, especially if the storm arrives earlier than expected.”

Therein, of course, lies a lesson for those who will attend the conference. Their work lives will throw them curves, and they’ll need to be ready to adapt.

Professionals employed in all imaginable types of work are the guest speakers, and most seem able to change their schedules to fit the snow day shift. Students from each district (Pottstown eighth graders will be at Friday’s sessions) get to choose four talks about careers that most appeal to them, and have their questions about them answered too. Both days will end with lunch.