Connecting Students with a Purpose

Courtesy: Cincinnati.com

Jamie Holtzapfel, Community Recorder guest columnist

Did you know that every local stream has a story? These stories tell us why our streams are in good, poor or even ever-evolving states and provide clues about how to improve and preserve them.

A team of environmental science experts at Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1) works hard to learn these stories and uses them in our efforts to enhance and protect Northern Kentucky by providing reliable waste water and storm water management services.

Starting this month, 13 high school juniors from Bellevue, Dayton, Holmes, Ludlow, Newport and Walton-Verona will meet with SD1 employees monthly until their senior graduation. In these meetings, students will learn how unfolding such stories are vital to our region’s success. They’ll explore a variety of environmental science careers. And, most importantly, they’ll discover more about their valuable purpose in our community – an opportunity made possible through the collaboration of three organizations – SD1, NaviGo and Skyward – that believe in empowering our youth.

The 13 students who’ll meet with a NaviGo Coach and SD1 scientists are part of a NaviGo Scholars Futures program focused on environmental science. Started by Tim Hanner, NaviGo offers students everything from career and academic coaching to company matches for real-life work experiences like the one with SD1.

Through the program NaviGo is linking these students to environmental science professionals working at SD1. While learning about our community and the careers that exist within the environment sciences realm, they will have exposure to hands-on learning and the real-life community challenges SD1 faces. Long term, they are building lasting mentorship networks that will help propel their careers forward when the time comes for them to enter the workforce.

Helping to make this experience possible is Skyward, the group behind Northern Kentucky’s strategic plan. Skyward’s president, William Scheyer, saw this collaboration as a way to connect students with experts in their fields of interest, and ultimately feed the local workforce pipeline. It has been shown that students who find their purpose, and map out a path for fulfilling it, not only thrive themselves but also help our community thrive.

What if we all had experienced something similar to the NaviGo Futures program in high school to help us better connect with our purpose? Where would we be today? How would Northern Kentucky be different? SD1, NaviGo and Skyward are passionate about helping students of all ages – whether in or out of school – explore and discover their purpose and you can help too. If you would like to get involved, I encourage you to visit navigoprep.com to learn more. It’s never too late to help a student discover their purpose.

Jamie Holtzapfel is director of communication for SD1.
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