College & Career Opportunities for Students

At Princeton Public Schools, our mission is to develop in EVERY learner the ability to succeed in an ever-changing world. We take our mission to heart, and that’s why we’re personalizing education for students and ensuring their learning is filled with relevance and meaning. We’ve launched our Career Academies at Princeton High School to help students connect their learning to their future careers, college, and life.

Our high school students are registering for courses for next year; each class is aligned to a potential career track within one of our six Career Academies. Through career exploration courses, students are introduced to professionals in various fields within each pathway, and students have the opportunity to earn advanced recognitions, certifications and college credits during their four years at Princeton High School. 

“Students get real-life, hands-on experience in an area they are interested in pursuing for their future,” says Jade Joseph-Bular, Youth Skills Coordinator for Princeton Public Schools. “The career academies lead them on a pathway through a particular industry or business. They gain real experience and foundational resume building.”

Joseph-Bular shares that sometimes a student realizes the Career Academy they thought they wanted wasn’t the right fit. “Students may learn that their anticipated path is not something for them. Now is a great time to learn that you don't like something when you aren’t paying college credits. This helps students explore their options and truly find what they want to pursue.”

Senior Cooper Yant is on the career fast track, thanks, in part, to the welding courses he has excelled in since his freshman year. He learned fabrication skills in class and enjoyed his hands-on courses, which gave him a sense of independence and accomplishment. Now, Yant is partnered with Glenn Metalcraft in Princeton. “It’s fun because I get to do and learn something that not many people know how to do or get to do,” says Yant. “I recommend everyone take one shop class because it’s a great experience. Some stuff that you learn applies to your life, like fixing cars or working on your home.”

Local businesses partner with Princeton’s Career Academies program to provide real-world experience and mentorship for students in one of the six Career Academies:

  • Business, Management, and Administration Academy

  • Information Systems, Communications, and Art Academy

  • Engineering, Manufacturing, and Technology Academy

  • Health Science Academy

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources Academy

  • Human Services Academy

“This offers true collaboration between the community and the schools,” says Joseph-Bular. “Our students come out of high school truly prepared for the world we live in, and businesses also have realistic expectations for their incoming workforce. The workforce shortages need real solutions, not short-term patches, and our career academies are part of that solution. Students prepare to be good learners, good employees, and good people. We want them to grow real skills and develop a career they are proud of and passionate about. This isn’t about filling jobs; it’s about matching the right people to the right careers.”

Princeton health teacher Erik Jacobs is excited about what these academies can mean for students. Experience is the best teacher,” he says. “A lot of students think a four-year college or university is the only path to a well-paying career. I'm trying to break that stereotype and talk to students about all of their options, especially in the healthcare field, where there are a million different opportunities and career paths.”

The Career Academy program has kicked off to a great start, but it is not without challenges. Joseph-Bular shares that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted student intern placements. “COVID-19 restrictions slowed our placement process. Now that things are loosening up, we hope to get more students paired with local businesses. But the program requires being very intentional from both sides. At Princeton, it’s our responsibility to ensure students have the foundational knowledge they need to launch in the workplace. We work with our business partners to ensure a mutually beneficial arrangement. The next few years will be really exciting as we continue to sign on new business partners and place more students.”

If you’d like to be a part of inspiring future thinking as a business or professional partner, please email Jade.Josephbular@isd477.org.

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