ETS is thrilled to announce the launch of “READY4REAL: Education Programming Powered by ETS”, a series of engaging, interactive career and life preparedness lessons aimed toward high school and college students.

In coordination with Education Outreach Consultant and Health Education Specialist Michele Armani, MCHES, the ETS team has developed a 10-session supplemental curriculum for teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators to get North Country students ready – for real.

Based off of the relationship ETS builds with each school, READY4REAL crafts a custom program tailored to different needs and objectives. Students cover a range of work readiness information taught by a team of ETS specialists and community partners, from understanding what makes them tick as individuals to the meaning of teamwork and collaboration, working all the way up to resume creation, interview preparation, financial literacy, a capstone networking event, and even the chance to connect with some of the area’s top employers.

While sessions have been created to accommodate traditional class periods, they are customizable and can even be combined. “In our pilot sessions, we’ve been able to ensure a diverse range of classrooms,” says Armani, whose combined 30 years experience in the North Country’s education system and workforce development provides a critical perspective. “Whether it’s a health class at Seton, a P-TECH in Malone, a tech class in Beekmantown, or students getting ready to graduate from Clinton Community College, we’re connecting with a range of students, some confident and others not about where they’re headed after graduation. It’s all about the element of confidence, understanding who you are and being able to effectively communicate that. To me, that’s what being a professional person is all about.”

While economic confidence increases in times of low unemployment, it’s this personal confidence Armani identifies as missing among recent North Country graduates. Confidence is a driving force when it comes to communication, leadership, teamwork – all termed “soft skills”.

ETS data indicates a steady increase in employers’ concern over “soft skills” development.  “Because of their very name, these skills are often seen as a bonus, when really they are essential to progress in all industries,” expressed Amber Parliament, Director of Marketing and Engagement at ETS. “These are often the skills that set applicants apart when unemployment is low. READY4REAL addresses some of today’s most in-demand skills across industries, such as time management, communication, and teamwork, guiding students through data-informed situational judgement training.”

It’s not just the area’s employers who see the need for personal and professional development like this among today’s emerging workforce. The community at large is eager to welcome this resource.

“As the proud connection between education and workforce, school and career, classroom and workplace, we recognize the need for this kind of programming throughout the North Country,” says Sylvie Nelson of the North Country Workforce Development Board. “We are thrilled to support this education initiative in an effort to align employers’ goals and students’ skills, ultimately strengthening our workforce and its future.”

Similarly, Sue Matton, Vice President for Economic Development at the North Country Chamber of Commerce, commented, “Each READY4REAL program module includes exercises designed to help students prepare for success in work and in life. Young people participating in these sessions will benefit from the practical knowledge they gain for years to come.”

Daphne Gricoski, Health Teacher at Seton Catholic Central High School stated, “The READY4REAL program has already had a positive impact on my health students. They look forward to ETS visiting and have already learned how to be better communicators while collaborating on group projects. This program will help each student become a healthier and more productive member of society.”

READY4REAL creates the bridge between education and successful employment. This program is about guiding students toward their best selves and giving them the resources to do that, whether they’re entering the workforce now, or continuing their education.

Interested in learning more about READY4REAL and how you can bring it to your classroom? Visit the READY4REAL website at, e-mail READY4REAL by ETS Program Coordinator, Amber Parliament, at, or call 518.562.4673.