Media Career Academy Opens Doors to Success

Posted by Gerard Longo on

As advocates of education, we here at PBS39 are always willing and excited to help students of all ages achieve new heights. This week, we have the opportunity to do that with local high school students as we partner with CareerLinking Academy and the Lehigh Valley Business/Education Partnership for our first-ever Media Career Academy.

The Media Career Academy allows students entering grades 11 and 12 to explore careers in the media field. The five-day camp reaches far beyond careers in television production, as the essential behind-the-scenes aspects of working at PBS39 – including sales, marketing, administration and membership – are also covered in-depth by the individuals and teams who make things run smoothly here at the station.

Students will leave the five-day camp equipped with a resume created with help from the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board (WIB), a video resume produced by PBS39, and the knowledge and direction to succeed in college and in their careers.

“The overall goal is to get these students, who are very interested in the career of media, to actually understand what the careers and fields are,” said Carly Dontas, Media Career Academy program manager. “We’re giving them real-world knowledge of what it takes to enter into these fields education and skills-wise, and helping them make sure that their interests and values match up to which career they’re geared toward.”

On Wednesday, the students worked directly with members of PBS39’s Emmy Award-winning production team to perfect their video resume scripts.

“They love getting that first-hand experience and knowledge that they’re getting, and they love being able to interact (with the staff),” Dontas said. “It’s like meeting real-life celebrities right in front of them, and it makes that career a little more real to them, because they’re seeing people who are doing this, day-in and day-out, and getting their insight.”

The students were quick to agree with that sentiment.

“There are a lot of people to talk to. So, if we’re thinking about certain jobs, it’s really easy to go up and ask questions,” said Leah Gaydos, a junior at Emmaus High School. “People are here doing their jobs every day, and they’re more than willing to answer questions.”

“It’s been a very enriching experience,” added Emmaus junior Ryan Zimmerman. “This is information that you’re not going to be able to find anywhere else.”

The students not only have an opportunity to network with professionals in the field. PBS39’s Media Career Academy has given them a chance to make like-minded friends with similar educational and career goals.

“I definitely think we’ve all connected as a family, in a way,” said Kaitlyn Fritz, a junior at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. “I definitely think it’s a nice experience, not only to enlighten us about media and our career paths, but it also helps us connect to other people in the community.”

In the end, Dontas and the PBS39 staff are confident that this week’s camp will serve as a long-lasting success blueprint for each of these students.

“A lot of students today go into college thinking they want to do something, and at the end of their four years, they end up with a degree in something they’re not really interested in,” Dontas said. “They just graduate to graduate, or they have no idea what to do with that degree. These students are not going to end up that way.”

“They’re going into college already knowing certain courses and paths that they want to take,” Dontas continued. "When they graduate, they’re going to be in the marketplace right away. They’re not going to have to worry about what they should do next. They’ve got that planned.”

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