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Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects to offer architecture program for York high schoolers through the Crispus Attacks Career Focus Institute

March 7, 2024
Rendering of the new Crispus Attucks History & Culture Center

Amid construction for the new Crispus Attucks History & Culture Center that Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects designed, M&D is continuing its relationship with the nonprofit organization that makes such an impact in education and much more for the people of York.

M&D will take part in the second phase of the Codorus Corridor Summer Enrichment Program by the Crispus Attucks Career Focus Institute with an eight-week Architecture, Planning & Design Program for high school students. The goal: to expose youth to new opportunities and provide them with space to gain skills they can take into the future.

Ready to launch a new set of students into success

The 2024 Crispus Attucks Career Focus Institute is pulling high school students from four local schools—Crispus Attucks Charter School, Logos Academy, York Academy Regional Charter School, and William Penn Senior High School—to take part in four different programs:

  • Management Leadership & You
  • Cyber Security Training/Digital Defense Academy
  • Financial Literacy
  • Planning & Design Program

M&D is partnering with Crispus Attucks, providing the curriculum for the Planning & Design Program and directly teaching students. The program will provide seminars and hands-on experience to put students on the pathway for an Architectural or related career. Stewart & Tate, the Construction Manager for the History & Culture Center (now under construction) will also be involved via student site visits.

A path for the future

As M&D implements the design and build of the Crispus Attucks History and Culture Center, students will have the opportunity to learn skills like hand-drawn modeling, digital rendering, and principles of Architectural design and construction management. They will also be able to shadow staff and will take other site visits to the Susan Byrnes Health Education Center, Horn Farm Center, Zimmerman Center for Heritage, York Central Market, MarketView Arts, WellSpan Park, and more.

Professionals from each of the four schools will select and vet individuals with an interest in this career pathway, setting them up for a successful learning experience. The program is grant-funded, and M&D is donating its time to teach the program, enabling students to attend for free through earned scholarships.

What exposure can do

When Barry Freeland, Director of Crispus Attucks Center for Employment and Training, was a senior in high school, he didn’t know what his path forward was. He ended up getting drafted into the Vietnam War, and that’s not a path he wants for today’s youth.

“The idea is you can have a great career, learning how this is done, learning from the inception of what it takes to begin to start digging the ground to build a building,” says Freeland. “That’s what we want for these kids who have historically not had that exposure.”

Freeland knows from experience that students respond best to a mix of hands-on learning and classroom seminars, and that’s exactly what this program provides. Students who don’t make the final cut aren’t tossed aside. Crispus Attucks internally monitors them, then works with them to shore up the areas they’re lacking, ultimately helping them land opportunities that will help them grow.

There’s also an element of civic engagement in all of their programs, helping youth understand they have the power to make a positive impact in their community. “No matter what specific career pathway they choose, we want them to get involved in their community,” says Freeland.

Architecture as an industry is increasing its diversity. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, 6.8% of new Architects were Black in 2022, up from 5.6% in 2018. Meanwhile, two in five new architects in 2022 were women, up 5% from 2018. These improvements are promising, and programs like the Architecture, Planning & Design Program will only help.

M&D is looking forward to helping local high school students propel themselves into future Architectural careers.

This piece, authored by Rachel Curry, originally published on Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects’ website, includes additional accompanying photos.

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Written by Olivia Perry