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Workshops teach high school students valuable career skills

  • Students take part in professional development workshop activities.

Posted on May 17, 2017

Several dozen Grand Rapids and Detroit-area charter high school students will spend a day getting a crash course in work skills at two professional development workshops on May 23 and 25.

Hosted by Grand Valley State University's Charter Schools Office, the professional development workshops will focus on professionalism basics, how to introduce people, the keys to a good handshake, and other skills that will help students as they apply for jobs and pursue higher education. The training will also include tips for effective public speaking, networking, how to maintain an appropriate "digital footprint" and more.

Other groups of students have received work skills instruction as part of the Charter Schools Office Summer Enrichment Camp for 11th and 12th graders, but this is the first time the skills will be taught as a stand-alone development program.

One workshop will be held in Detroit and another in Grand Rapids. The Detroit workshop will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 23 at GVSU's Detroit Center, 163 Madison Street, Detroit; the Grand Rapids workshop will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 25 at the Bicycle Factory, 201 Front Avenue SW, Grand Rapids.

Shirley Keys is a current Grand Valley student majoring in multimedia journalism who experienced the work skills instruction as a high school student at Summer Enrichment Camp. She said taking part in mock interviews as part of the curriculum was extremely helpful to her.

"From learning how to properly shake an employer's hand to creating a résumé, the mock interviews prepared me for what the real world would bring," Keys said. "The skills that I took away from the program were making direct eye contact, making sure to speak clearly, answering questions precisely, remaining calm throughout the interview, and more. Interviews would have been more difficult without this training."

Charter Schools Office project manager Tona Ambrose said the goal is to host more professional development workshops for high school students and to open them to students from any school. 

A few spots are still open for the free workshops; students interested in attending can RSVP online at