Project urges employers to use grades to hire high schoolers in county Five sites selected to participate in spring '99 program

November 26, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Attendance and grades will become a little more important for students at five Baltimore County high schools this spring.

The high schools will be the first in Baltimore County to participate in a program in which county businesses would be expected to routinely use transcripts and report cards when they decide whether to hire students and recent graduates.

"The long-term goal is to impress on students that good attendance, punctuality, a challenging program and solid grades are important not just in school, but in the competitive job market, as well," said Sharon Norman, the school system's manager of business, community and parent relations.

The Baltimore County effort is part of a statewide initiative from the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education to encourage employers to make the high school record a routine part of the hiring process. The roundtable's Achievement Counts program comes as state and national educators and business groups are expressing growing concerns about an unprepared work force.

"We have to inculcate in our students that what they do in high school truly makes a difference and that students who are working hard to achieve are acknowledged for those achievements," said state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

Under the program -- which was presented to the Baltimore County school board this week -- seniors and their parents at the five participating high schools will have the option of participating.

They will prepare folders that include their transcripts and resumes and participate in mock interviews, which county high schools already conduct, said Ed Fangman, the county's facilitator of the Career Connections and tech prep programs. The county's senior English curriculum requires students to create resumes.

The high school transcript includes such information as courses, grades, attendance records and functional test results, but businesses rarely ask high school students for transcripts during job interviews.

"I was surprised to learn that employers do not routinely look at transcripts," said school board member Katharine A. Cohn. "I really think it is important."

The five high schools expected to participate in the program this spring are Hereford, Kenwood, Milford Mill, Lansdowne and Overlea, school officials said. If successful, the program will be expanded to more county high schools.

Businesses participating in the program will display "Achievement Counts" decals in their windows. School officials said they plan to recruit businesses and expect that county companies that are roundtable members will be quick to join.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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