Fiscal Support Partner:

Karman

Karman is an initiative dedicated to guiding Pontiac high school seniors and alumni through personalized career pathways that will help them stay on track as they pursue careers and higher education after graduation. The name, Karman, refers to the Karman Line used by scientists to distinguish where the earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins. 

Karman is committed to providing a bridge for students between the life they have known and the dreams and goals that wait for them beyond what they can see.

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Executive Summary

Karman is an initiative dedicated to guiding Pontiac high school seniors through personalized career pathways that will help them stay on track as they pursue careers and higher education after graduation. The name, Karman, refers to the Karman Line used by scientists to distinguish where the earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins. 

Karman is committed to providing a bridge for students between the life they have known and the dreams and goals that wait for them beyond what they can see. By helping students identify their passions, interests, and personality strengths through nationally-recognized tools, such as StrengthsFinder and Myers-Briggs, we can introduce them to career pathways they are genuinely excited about pursuing. In partnership with Oakland University, GM Leadership Foundry, Talent Development Coalition, Pontiac Community Foundation, and outside businesses, we develop detailed post-high school plans with students related to the education, trade, or training needed to get them where they want to go. We do this by partnering students with real-world business professionals as mentors for year-round coaching and support or connecting them into existing programs that will teach them a skill or trade they desire to learn and pursue full-time. In order to remove barriers related to resources, Karman helps guide students through paths of exposure such as scholarships, certifications, resume writing, internships, entrepreneurship development, etc. In partnership with Karman alumni, current students will hear firsthand about the importance of making a plan while keeping in mind the challenges of following your dreams in the real world and be provided with strategies to navigate them. 

Pontiac Community Foundation has recognized Karman’s founder, Josh Kozlowski, as the right leader to partner with in order to serve at-risk students who trust his already established mentorship role in their lives. Because Karman operates in cooperation with the school district, the program is unique in its rapport with students. Josh has built relationships and credibility with students and their families over the past 10+ years of teaching upperclassmen in the Pontiac School District, which makes him invaluable to the success of connecting students directly in the classroom into a program such as this.

Need for Program

Karman is aimed at closing the gap of the national college dropout crisis. With up to 40% of undergraduate students dropping out of college in 2022, and half of that 40% dropping out in their first year, the need for a stronger bridge from high school to college-level education is critical1. Recognizing that these barriers only increase in low-income communities, like Pontiac, Karman was created as a way to address and even remove some of those barriers in order to see students succeed in following on after high school into successful careers that allow them to establish a future for themselves, their families and their community.  Karman is unique in that it can operate directly with students and alumni at the ground level inside the schools. Because students participate and learn from Karman, and its partners, during advisory period at school, they have easy and direct access to resources that can help them towards success from right inside the classroom. 

The City of Pontiac would greatly benefit from a whole generation of highly educated local students who are ready to step into careers and leadership positions within the city, and ensure the growth and prosperity of Pontiac as a whole. With college dropouts earning 30% less than those with degrees and being almost 20% more likely to become unemployed, the impact of how prepared a student is after high school extends much further than a child’s education1. The City of Pontiac has many dedicated educators who go above and beyond for their students. Karman is a way to support those educators and offer a clear path to the future for students. A Pontiac-focused youth-based program that specifically addresses the needs of the city’s workforce development is vital in order to see our graduates succeed and our city thrive as they grow into adulthood.

Program Goal

The goal of Karman is to ensure that students are equipped with the tools needed to have a clear and direct path to success in their post-graduation goals. By the time students become high school graduates, they should be able to pursue their career of choice while navigating through the real-world challenges that might cause them to give up on their dreams. To help them on this journey, students will be taken through a post-high school curriculum and connected with mentors and business professionals committed to sharing their time and wisdom with students to see them reach their full potential.

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