PA eMentoring Receives 2014 State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant

Proud to be a Good Neighbor: Smart Futures has received a 2014 State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant for its PA eMentoring Program.

The program awards a $500  financial contribution on behalf of each eligable State Farm Associates (active agents, emp

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PA eMentoring is lucky to have many State Farm employees who volunteer their time as online career mentors for high school students.loyees, or retirees) who volunteer a minimum of 40 hours a year to an eligable nonprofit organization.

The grant award is $7500 and will be used to help deliver the PA eMentoring program you more youth.

Thank you State Farm!!

EQT Corporation supports Keys2Work

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Smart Futures welcomes EQT Corporation as our latest corporate champion of career education in Pennsylvania.  EQT has donated $25,000 to specifically support the use of Keys2Work with disadvantaged and at risk populations.

As a result, hundreds of young people will strengthen the foundation skills that are critical for success and school and in the workplace.  The key outcome will be measured in terms of increases in each young person’s earning potential.

Thank you, EQT, for your generous support.


Exposing the Myth of the “University” Education


University or resort or cathedral?




This article exposes the Myth of the “University” and the effects propagating the myth has on our young people.

A must read — lots of dining room discussion topics here.


Smart Futures is working with a group of upper level information technology students from Carnegie Mellon University to create a tool that uses crowd-sourcing to identify education programs that teach transferable, relevant skills with an attractive ROI.

In the end, what is real for the education consumer are SKILLS.

Smart Futures Gets a Facelift

Smart Futures has a new website:



While the look and feel have changed, the website at still offers the same basic functionality including:


1.  A review of our programs, including descriptions, features, implementation details and videos.


2.  Student and teacher login area, including the option to retrieve forgotten passwords



3.  An instructors code request page that allows instructors to be sent a code to create a FREE instructors account.

teacher_code_request4.  An new instructor registration page

new_instructor_registration5.  A new student dashboard to access each of our programs


6.  New integrated blog layout


Online career guidance via mentoring supported by Corporations in Pennsylvania

It’s amazing to think that thousands of kids in Pennsylvania are receiving career guidance from real-life working adults who themselves have navigated the complicated web that will connect high school students from a suitable career.

eMentoringLogoin 2012-13 again owes so much thanks to our corporate sponsors that provide the resources needed to offer this program in schools and community based organizations throughout Allegheny County and now growing throughout Pennsylvania.

The following organizations and donors not only contribute volunteers to serve as eMentors, but also provide the financial support needed to make PA eMentoring thrive.

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Keys2Work — IMPROVEs foundation skills critical to college and career success

Keys2Work:  Smart Futures’ First Program and Still Growing

When we created Keys2Work in 1999, I had no idea it would first spread through Pennsylvania as a resource to document student skill gains for special education teachers.  Looking back, it all makes sense.  The WorkKeys skill

k2wlogolevels, the ability to target and remediate gaps, and the benchmarking againstcareer goals is a perfect fit within an IEP.

Today Keys2Work is experiencing its largest growth in high schools and community-based programs that are looking for foundation skill improvement programs that can provide Relevance to the remediation for virtually any student.  The ability to tie skill gains to improvement on PSSAs, college coursework preparation, as well as workplace success is a powerful tool for today’s educator.

And more amazing news:  Last year the educators using Keys2Work in Pennsylvania were able to IMPROVE the foundation skill levels of their students leading to an increase in the collective earning capacity of these students by over $400 Million!!!

This year, Keys2Work is poised to be used by a wider variety of educators, in more Pennsylvania classrooms than ever before.

In addition to career exploration, Keys2Work offers online differentiated instruction in 9 core foundational skill areas.  Keys2Work uses ACT’s powerful WorkKeys(R) System to provide hundreds of hours skill remediation in 9 foundation skill areas considered critical to the success in virtually any career.

          Reading for Information              Applied Mathematics
          Locating Information                    Observation
          Writing                                                 Listening
          Teamwork                                           Applied Technology
          General Career Skills

Improvements in these skill areas have been shown to improve PSSA results, improve students’ grades, help students be prepared for college work, and improve their eventual earning capacity in the workplace.

Login to your instructor account or register for a new instructor code at or call Diane Duncan at 412-288-3900 ext. 223.



Congratulations to May’s Mentor/Mentee of the Month!

Dr. Robert E. Marmelstein, an Associate Professor at East Stroudsburg University was paired up with Jay, a junior at Cranberry High School and the two had an immediate connection due to Jay’s central career interest, Engineering with “an eye toward working in aviation, preferably as a pilot.” Not only is this an interesting career choice by itself, but Dr. Marmelstein also served as an engineer in the Air Force, which allowed him to really hone in on what exactly Jay would need to focus on, highlight, and even improve if he was going to pursue that career. Dr. Marmelstein elaborated by saying that part of what he emphasized to Jay was “the importance of an engineering background, even for pilots.  This is especially true if, as in Jay’s case, a pilot aspires to do flight testing.”


The questions and answers didn’t stop there, though. Jay was also curious about college and what steps he was going to have to take in order to ensure a successful college life. Even more to the point, Jay was interested in finding out which high school courses, interests, and part time jobs, best prepared him for getting an engineering degree. To this, Dr. Marmelstein emphasized that “attitude was just as important as academics; that is, you had to be prepared to handle stress and creatively think through problems and around ‘road blocks.'”


Dr. Marmelstein says that his “mentoring experience with Jay was both positive and straightforward” for both of them. He also went on to say that “in Jay’s case, he was highly motivated and already taking many of the actions I recommended. Before the mentoring process was complete, he had already applied to several excellent engineering schools.”


Lastly, he says that from his perspective, the eMentoring experience “helped him reconnect with the detailed and painstaking thought process a young person goes through when choosing a career,” and that while interacting with Jay, he identified with many of his questions and concerns-as he long ago had many of them himself.


Jay also had nothing but good things to say about the mentor and about the eMentoring program in general. He said he thoroughly enjoyed his experience with his eMentor and was able to not only get a better understanding of his career, but of the colleges he was thinking of attending. Jay also concluded by saying that his mentor also “allowed me to understand the skills I would need for my career and what skills I need to improve on. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with e-mentoring and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about a career.”


Thank you Robert and Jay for your exceptional effort in this program.