Press Releases

Business leadership program goes statewide with PA Cyber students

Jan 30, 2015

An innovative program that puts middle and high school students in personal contact with top Pittsburgh business, community and governmental leaders is available statewide for the first time in a partnership with the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

The “U Can B” program was originated and is operated by Building Bridges for Business, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit launched in 2010. The organization aims at empowering and educating 7th through 12th graders using experts, its “Coffee With” film series on CBS/KDKA, in-person lectures, and “Power Trip” meetings with individuals in leadership positions.

“The U Can B program has been made available to school districts in and around Pittsburgh, but this is the first time they’ve offered it through an online school, and the first time for it to be available statewide,” said Mike Hissam, director of PA Cyber’s gifted and talented program.

Participating PA Cyber students have been recruited to participate through the school’s regional offices, and from the gifted-talented and related STAR programs, DECA business club, School of Engineering, and National Honor Society chapter.

Each Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. over a 15-week period that began Jan. 15, participants gather at seven PA Cyber support centers and satellite offices across the state for live, interactive online sessions on specific topics including entrepreneurship, website and graphic design, government and politics, jobs in the “green” sector, film, and trade careers.

In addition to the weekly class topics, students will learn from two in-person lectures, and may attend a “Power Trip” meeting. Power Trips may include visits to Google offices, the Energy Innovation Center, CBS/KDKA studios and Pittsburgh City Hall.

The live online sessions in this series originate from PA Cyber’s office in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty business district. They are streamed using Google software to offices at Greensburg, Erie, Wexford, Allentown, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg.

Hissam and Brian Boothby, a facilitator in the gifted-talented program, are simultaneously streaming the sessions to other PA Cyber students at home on their laptops, using the same Collaborate meeting software students use to attend their regular PA Cyber virtual classes.

In the second session, for example, Tom Kubilius of Bally Designs of Pittsburgh explained what entrepreneurship is, what entrepreneurs have in common, choices to be made in starting a business, creating a business plan, what a small business looks like, and why having a passion for what you do is important.

Hissam said participation in the program will remain open through the semester to new participation by all PA Cyber students in grades 9-12, and to grade 7-8 students taking high school classes.

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.