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Innovative Program to Introduce High Schoolers to Sports Career Options

Duquesne Teams with Josh Gibson Foundation, Pittsburgh Schools to Improve Retention

To help address concerns about retention rates and student interest in completing high school, Duquesne University's School of Business Administration has teamed with the Josh Gibson Foundation and Pittsburgh Public Schools to offer a new, innovative, program this fall that will introduce high school students to different career facets of sports while offering college credits.

The Business of Sports Academy (BOSA) will be open to incoming sophomores and juniors attending Pittsburgh high schools. The program will be housed at PittsburghWestinghouse and Pittsburgh Carrick but open to students in all Pittsburgh Public Schools.

BOSA is the first targeted program in Pittsburgh to introduce the opportunity for career development in sports beyond the playing surface. Over two years, Steve Greenberg, chair of Duquesne's marketing, sports marketing, supply chain management and entrepreneurship program and former vice president of marketing/new ballpark development for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has worked with Sean Gibson, executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation; Angela Mike, executive director of career and technical education for Pittsburgh Public Schools; Linda Wolfgang, supervisor for career and technical education, Pittsburgh Public Schools; and assistant professors Dr. Dorene Ciletti and Dr. Maryellen Kelly to develop a three-year, six segment curriculum, which will also earn students college credits through Duquesne.

The Duquesne team will work with teachers who will lead courses in Introduction to Sports Business, Sports Marketing and Media, Sports Sales and Event Management, Sports Law and Independent Study Project in Sports. The University will provide mentoring and experiences with professional and collegiate teams in the Pittsburgh market.

"Sports are such a positive force in Pittsburgh and around the world, and a major economic driver," said Greenberg. "We thought that if we helped develop a high school business curriculum around sports, we might be able to interest more kids in staying in school and open them to the possibility of continuing their studies in college."

The Josh Gibson Foundation also hopes to encourage students to remain in school by providing financial support for BOSA through grants so that participating students attend at no cost to them. The foundation also will arrange speakers and authentic learning experiences because educational options are a prime concern for the foundation.

"The decision by Pittsburgh Public Schools to add the BOSA program to the curriculum is especially significant for the Josh Gibson Foundation," Gibson said.Josh Gibson enrolled in Pittsburgh Public Schools when the family moved to Pittsburgh in the early 1920s, then he attended Allegheny and Conroy pre-vocational school as he prepared to become an electrician, though his exceptional baseball skills took him a different direction. Josh Gibson, regarded as the best overall player in Negro League history, led the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords to several titles.

Sean Gibson and the other partners are well aware that not everyone seeking a career in sports can follow a star player's path, so they find great value in BOSA.

"This partnership prepares students not only for a career but college as well," said Mike. "Our students will graduate with a high school diploma, Microsoft Office certification and college credits. We want our students to know that they don't have to be athletes to excel in the sports arena."

Students need to apply in advance for the classes and can obtain more information from the Career and Technical Education section of the Pittsburgh Public Schools website,www.pghboe.net, by calling 412.665.2258 or by emailing cte@pghboe.net.

Josh Gibson Foundation
The Josh Gibson Foundations believes in the endless possibilities for potential in today's youth and in creating the skills needed for tomorrow's success by providing academic and athletic programs that foster leadership and scholarship. Since 2005, the foundation has provided a number of after-school programs for children primarily from the Hill District and Uptown. A goal is to encourage children to be ready, through attendance and academic performance, to benefit from the Pittsburgh Promise Program. www.joshgibson.org

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.