Mentorship Program Offers Cutting-Edge Opportunities


Jessica Yetter

Senior, Cam Rohrer, interns at Smail Auto Group working in finance.

Many times, students enter high school with little idea on what to do about the future. They don’t know what they want to do for their career. Even if they do know, finding the right major at the right college is foreign to them. The process of finding interests that you can pursue as a career is daunting for teenagers. However, Greater Latrobe has worked to ease the stress on this process and assist students to figure out their career aspirations. 


At Greater Latrobe, this process starts as early as 7th grade with students exploring broader career pathways. Classes at the Junior High, like Career Pathways and Business Pathways, are designed to introduce students to multiple fields of interest. The idea is to have students enter high school with a broad idea of what they want to do and how to explore it further.


As students progress through school, the goal is to narrow your field of interest and find a desired career. This led to the creation of the Greater Latrobe NEXT Career Pathways Program. Since 2015, the Greater Latrobe NEXT Career Pathways Program has been constantly expanding to help students find success in their lives after high school. 


As the program has expanded, so have the opportunities for students at the high school. Beginning last year, juniors were given the opportunity to schedule the new mentorship class. The goal of Mentorship is to let students intern at local businesses and get hands-on experience with a job in their field of interest. For some students, the experience will confirm to them that this is what they want to pursue. For others, they may realize that this isn’t what they want. Either way, Mentorship allows students to develop their career interests in a way that has never been done before at Greater Latrobe.


Mrs. Yetter, the Career Pathways Coordinator, said the class is an “introduction to internship” for high school seniors. She elaborated, “Students learn communication skills, time management, organization, and other soft skills.” 


Traditionally internships are not thought of until college, but this new class is allowing seniors still in high school to experience career pathway opportunities earlier. At the end, students will have a resume that they can build on in college and use to help them in future endeavors. 


At the beginning of the school year, students wrote their interests and career desires with the goal of finding a specific job that matches them. After learning of the students’ interests, Mrs. Yetter was tasked with finding businesses that matched the students’ needs and were willing to take in high school interns. 


Senior Cam Rohrer took advantage of this new class and now interns at Smail Auto Group in Greensburg during the school day. Usually, on the days he has Mentorship, he leaves during lunch and interns during his lunch and Mentorship class period. Cam is interested in pursuing finance after high school, which allowed him to end up at Smail. Smail Auto Group allows Cam to explore finance in a real world setting.


“I wanted to see what I really wanted to do before going into college. I have developed social skills as well as financial skills by interning at Smail and learned more about the financial side of working at a business. This definitely helped me better understand what I want to do with my future.”


Students interested in history have interned at the Lincoln Highway Museum. A student pursuing environmental science interns at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at St. Vincent College. Some students want to pursue a career in healthcare, which has led them to intern for Excela Health or Phoenix Rehab. Interested in criminal justice? One student has been assigned to the Westmoreland County Courthouse. Another student interns at the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit (WIU) handling computer programming. Clearly, there are great opportunities through the new mentorship program provided by many local businesses that students have been given the chance to act upon. 


The class, which can be taken as a semester course or for a full-year, has allowed these students to get hands-on experience and insight into their desired career. More than just researching a career or learning about it in a class, Mentorship has given these seniors a greater understanding of their future goals. 


“It is a great experience that other students should try. I’m happy I took the class and recommend it to anyone considering it,” Cam said. 


As always with Greater Latrobe, the opportunities expand for students to broaden their horizons. This class is no different and will only continue to grow at the high school; the future of the mentorship program seems bright. Mrs. Yetter said, “We would like to expand the program and add more students in the future.”


The growth of the class should provide even more opportunities for students to explore their career goals and intern at local businesses. Maybe some of these students will move on to have their own businesses providing internship opportunities for future students of Greater Latrobe or have full-time careers in their field of interest.