Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Advantage Lancaster’s (AL) partnership with Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is based on: a. providing early exposure to S.T.E.M. related fields and b. preparing students to be college and career ready at the completion of their senior year. Through the partnership with Thaddeus Stevens, students are offered the Advantage Lancaster/Thaddeus Stevens Grant, which pays 90% of the tuition for qualified AL students who have been accepted into the college. Throughout the AL experience, the Stevens faculty offers counseling on college requirements, FASFA preparation and question and answer sessions with an ACT 101 advisor and the Office of Admissions. Stevens also provides classroom space for AL students to utilize their computer labs, biology labs, library, classrooms and its student recreation center. The experience of middle/high school students being immersed on a college campus is vital for financially and academically disadvantaged students making a successful transition from high school to a post secondary institution. To date, the AL/Thaddeus Grant has helped three students earn their associate’s or undergraduate degree. Lancaster County is benefitting from graduates entering the workforce ready to fulfill the needs of Lancaster County Employers.
The School District of Lancaster (SDoL)
AL has partnered with the School District of Lancaster to offer summer learning and after school programming for middle/high school students at Edward Hand Middle School and McCaskey High School. AL has identified summer learning loss and academic enrichment as an area of need in our community. The SDOL has provided the resources for PA certified teachers to give instruction in literacy, mathematics, computer coding, and science courses. All of the lessons have been developed and designed by AL educators to emphasize perseverance in one’s own journey in life and to enhance cultural awareness. Choosing high interest topics, which engage our students is necessary to foster self pride, a love for literacy, and total participation in the subject matter. Throughout the school year, the SDOL provides classrooms and recreational space (in kind) for AL to offer after school programming for approximately 50 – 100 students. The after school program provides students with at least 120 minutes of additional support with assignments and school district resources, i.e., teachers, computers, library, etc. AL and the SDOL also have a data sharing agreement with Franklin & Marshall’s Center of Opinion and Research, to track the effectiveness of programming. The data sharing agreement also helps AL to measure program outcomes. The long-term benefits for the Lancaster community are rooted in preparing our students for post secondary institutions and career training.
The YMCA of Lancaster County
AL partners with the YMCA of Lancaster County to give students healthy lifestyle choices through the implementation of fitness programs during the summer semester, as well as nutritional counseling. Certified Trainer and AL/YMCA staff member Mr. Jeremy Nesmith, designs fitness programs for group exercise classes, a Body Mass Index Assessment and an individualized workout plan for every student to support a healthy lifestyle. In collaboration with Mr. Jeremy, Advantage Lancaster alumnus Emily Rodriguez, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, provides nutritional counseling to AL students. Along with nutrition counseling, AL provides students with fruit and vegetable packed smoothies through their Smoothie Program developed by Emily Rodriguez. Through this smoothie program, all students were able to increase their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Nutrition education, which is seldom provided to students from this demographic was also introduced. During the month of July, the YMCA offers AL the opportunity to implement the wellness/fitness program for 5 hours a week at its Lampeter-Strasburg Branch. The partnership between AL and the YMCA aims to strengthen the lives of students in our community through youth development and healthy lifestyle choices.
The Lancaster County Workforce Development Board (WDB)
AL has partnered with the Workforce Development Board to expose high school students to post secondary and career readiness opportunities. Through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding, AL offers students computer-based training through the Ready2Work program. Ready2Work offers a series of online courses that train and assess students in applied mathematics, reading and locating information using charts and graphs. After the completion of the courses, students are administered the WorkKeys Assessment at the WDB. Over the course of two years, 100% of students completed the WorkKeys Assessment and earned the National Career Readiness Credential. Through completion of the assessment and earning the National Career Readiness credential, local employers have a clear understanding that AL students have been adequately prepared for job placement and will be assets to their companies. Local business partners such as SouthEast Health Clinic, The Candy Factory and Fruition Collective have allowed credentialed students to intern during the summer, in their field of study or as an opportunity of exposure.
National Junior Tennis League (NJTL)
AL has partnered with the United States Tennis Foundation Association to become a Level 1 Chapter of The National Junior Tennis League. Pairing AL with the NJTL, allows our students exposure to a sport that is underrepresented in participation and access in the South East Lancaster community. Through the collaboration, AL can apply for funding for youth development through education and tennis opportunities. With this partnership, the Lancaster City community will have access to tennis courts designed and built by the USTA on the campus of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.