Early Career Development Program

The smart way forward.

For too long, 18-year-olds have been asked to declare their post-high-school intentions with very limited exposure to the possible options. As a result, they make expensive, life-defining decisions that are often based on little more than a hunch or a feeling.

5th Year is designed to provide recent high school grads with first-hand knowledge that they can apply when making education or career decisions.

An intern working with an advisor on a 3D printer
Student in their dorm room laughing on their bed
Campus Experience

5th Year works in collaboration with Lourdes University to create an independent living experience to support your personal growth.

You will experience campus life while living with three other students in an apartment on the Lourdes University campus. Lourdes will provide a partial meal plan that includes on-campus dining services.

Build your independence, learn to live with others, stay active using the athletic facilities, or participate in recreational activities during your free time.

Internships and work-based experiences supply you with the income you will need to help pay for your partial meal plan, apartment rent, and other living expenses.

Lourdes holds a contract with Continental Security to provide you with on-campus safety 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The university also works closely with local law enforcement agencies and fire departments to ensure timely responses to emergencies.

Curriculum & Schedule

The inaugural 5th Year session begins on August 26, 2024, and ends May 10, 2025.

The weekly schedule consists of personal and professional development on Monday, career exploration on Tuesday and paid internships Wednesday through Friday.  Optional independent living activities are available during the evenings.

Personal Development Days
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Develop essential life and professional skills to navigate a career and manage a home.

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.: Lourdes LUC Class
Explore career development, identify your strengths and interests, and determine where you are in the process.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Personal Finance
Meet with advisors and discuss budgeting to gain financial independence. Topics include:

  • Budgeting, saving and spending
  • Investing and building wealth
  • Effects of credit and debt
  • Understanding taxes and insurance

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Professional and Life Skill Development and Community Service Projects

Professional and Soft Skills:

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Employing written and verbal communication
  • Developing independence
  • Effective collaboration
  • Time management
  • Networking
  • Public speaking
  • Community and civic involvement

Post-Secondary Education and Training Options:

  • Certificate programs
  • Industry credentials
  • Career coaching

Life Skills Development:

  • Cooking – how to prepare healthy meals
  • Laundry
  • Minor automotive maintenance
  • Renting an apartment or buying a house
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Personal health and wellness

Career Exploration

8 a.m.  5 p.m.

Visit two local organizations each week and learn about career opportunities in various industries, including but not limited to:

  • Business and finance
  • Health and life sciences
  • Government, law and public service
  • Technology
  • Architecture, engineering and construction
  • Advanced manufacturing and logistics
  • Agricultural, food and natural resources
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Educational institutions
  • Military

Paid Internships
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Gain hands-on experience during two 13-week paid internships based on your career interest. Internships are divided between fall and spring semesters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our intent is to have students pay only for their living expenses. They’ll earn money to cover those costs from their training experiences. Our supporting businesses and grants will also provide financial support.

No, but students must complete a capstone project at the end of the 9-month program. It will consist of an original presentation.

Not yet, but we’re working to provide industry-recognized credentials and certifications to participants who earn them.

No. An important part of succeeding in life is learning how to live independently, while still being responsible to others. You’ll share a two-bedroom apartment with up to three others on the Lourdes University campus in Sylvania, Ohio. You’ll also have access to a partial meal plan.

Yes. They’ll include organized team building and social activities through 5th Year and other opportunities through Lourdes.

You must be at least 18 years old by August 31, 2024 and no older than 20 years old. You must have graduated from high school on or before June 30, 2024.

Each 5th Year participant…

• Must be 18 to 20 years old.
• Must be a high school graduate.
• Must pass current admission requirements.

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