Educational Support Services
Peer Mentor and Academic Support
Peer mentor supports is available to students who enroll in the program. Current Penn State Harrisburg undergraduate students and graduate students work as peer mentors. Prior to working with students, peer mentors undergo background checks as required by state law and Penn State University policy. They receive training in their role prior to the beginning of the semester and throughout the school year.
Job Coaching Support
The program includes the services of a job coach/employment specialist to assist in identifying employment skills and preferences. A job coach or the program Supports Services Coordinator will also accompany the students to job sites and shadow employees at the work sites of our employer partners. The program works with the students to identify their interests and preferences to identify vocational themes that lead to practicum experiences. The goal of the employment support is for job coaching to fade as students gain experience and are able to independently perform the job activities.
First year students attend a mandatory new student orientation (NSO) student orientation prior to the start of the semester. Students register for classes during this orientation. An additional orientation for peer mentors, students, and their families also takes place prior to the beginning of the semester. Students are involved in person centered planning exercises, an introduction to support services on campus, and a peer mentor ice breaking activity. Parent/Guardians have an opportunity to network with second year parents and guardians and have a question/answer session with program staff. Accepted students and parents/guardians are informed well in advance of the dates.
Penn State Harrisburg has adopted a person-centered planning process for the Career Studies program that is based on a successful model designed by the University of South Florida. The Lion Tracks person-centered planning process recognizes and supports the student’s individual personal plans, hopes, and dreams for life and work. This planning process begins with the student’s interview and orientation and continues throughout the program.