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College & Careers collaborates with Indy high schools

Christel House is partnering with four Indianapolis high schools to create the Christel House College & Careers Collaboration. Career Coaches (L-R) Cam Cook, Brela Akers, Claire Humphrey, and College & Careers Collaboration Coordinator Luis Serrano, will provide guidance and support for students at the schools. The collaboration is the first time Christel House has offered the impactful program outside its own schools.

“For 18 years, Christel House’s College & Careers program has guided our students to successful careers after graduation,” said Bart Peterson, President and CEO, Christel House International. “We’re excited to increase the impact of our globally successful program in Indianapolis.” Serrano has been a part of the College & Careers program from its earliest days. He remembers the leadership of Christel DeHaan, the Founder of Christel House. “She asked, ‘How are our graduates doing?’ Starting from that point she always told us we need to do something, we need to structure something new to help our graduates move forward, to achieve their goals.”

Christel House career coaches build relationships and provide guidance during high school, supporting students into young adulthood. Akers says the partner high schools are looking forward to the opportunity. She’s already met staff and students. “I’m excited,” she says. “I feel a part of it already.” Cook says his goal is understanding the culture of the schools he is working with. “We’re stepping into someone else’s classroom and community.” Each high school student in the new collaboration program receives personalized coaching, and participants also have access to a Graduate Assistance Fund after high school. The program’s career coaching supports all post-secondary options for youth including college, certifications, and direct-to-work options. “It’s important to lean into the landscape of the Indianapolis workforce,” says Humphrey, “and actively support students by finding opportunities locally.” Data from the state of Indiana shows that high school graduates from Christel House Indianapolis have higher median incomes five years after graduation than all but one other public Indianapolis high school – and have the highest earnings among Marion County high schools serving a high percentage of students from low-income backgrounds. Globally, 95% of recent Christel House graduates are employed or in school. The vast majority are employed and have a third of the unemployment rate of peers.

The collaboration will launch with the 2024/2025 school year. Lawrence North High School, Lawrence Central High School, Herron Classical Schools, and Irvington Preparatory Academy are the partner high schools in the program. “For many years, Irvington Preparatory Academy has recognized the need to support our students beyond graduation,” said Deanna Dehner, Chief Academic Officer at Irvington Preparatory Academy. “So, when the opportunity came along to partner with our colleagues at Christel House to work side-by-side with them in implementing a support program for our graduates, we knew this was just the endeavor we had been looking for.”

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