LPA|A has made five staff members available this year to give a series of virtual sessions as part of the Innovation Pathways Program at the Worcester Public Schools. Associate principals Mike Oldakowski, Christina Bazelmans, and Peter Caruso, as well as associate Henry Glennon and architect Natalie Gabrielle all agreed to participate in the program sharing their knowledge and experience about all aspects of the design process from programming through construction management.
Innovation Pathways is a career exploration and development program offered as extended days for ninth and tenth grade students in the Worcester Public Schools. The district offers seven different pathways including allied health, advanced manufacturing, IT and construction/engineering and brings in local volunteers in industry to share their expertise and knowledge with students. The program’s director Drew Weymouth approached LPA|A to participate in their Construction and Engineering Pathway, based on the experience of working with the firm during the design of Doherty Memorial High School.
As the architect for multiple public schools for the city over the course of the past 30 years, including Worcester Technical High School and South High Community School, staff at LPA|A have developed an understanding of the needs of students and an interest in being of service.
Peter Caruso, the LPA|A architect who led a discussion with students about the construction management phase of a project, said of his involvement, “We were all really happy to be able to contribute in this way. We have seen how Innovation Pathways helps students in making the connection between what they are learning and how those skills can be used in the real world. Being able to support and encourage these students to find a career path that interests and excites them is incredibly rewarding.”
The firm is also collaborating with construction managers Fontaine Brothers to develop meaningful sessions that touch on all aspects of the industry so that students can get an inside look at the nature of the work and the different types of jobs and skill sets that comprise the workforce of the construction and engineering industry.
“The fact that we have so many professionals donating their time to guide the students through this project is incredibly philanthropic and adds tremendous value to the students’ experiences,” said Drew Weymouth. “Students have direct access to people in the positions they aspire to, or are knowledgeable about related professions they are considering. It is like mentoring but with instruction to complement. This instructional series that LPA|A and Fontaine Brothers provides not only increases the value of the student experience but helps to educate and guide the instruction of our teachers as well.”
The second session of the 2020/21 school year will begin in early March and will run for ten weeks, with LPA|A staff participating every other week. The program is open to students from any of the Worcester Public Schools’ comprehensive high schools meeting certain requirements. The application process for the next school year opens later this month.