USD 250 announces new Launch program community partnerships director

Special to the Morning Sun / news@morningsun.net
Mindy Cloninger

PITTSBURG, Kan. — In a combined effort between Pittsburg Community Schools (USD 250) and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the local school district announced a new partnership Friday with Mindy Cloninger, who will serve as the new director of community partnerships for its Launch pathways program.   

Launch pathways are the specific career pathways students have to choose from at Pittsburg High School and Pittsburg Community Middle School, including business and entrepreneurship, science and engineering, construction trades and management, culinary and hospitality, education, health careers, and information (computer) technology.   

Cloninger brings to the table many years of quality experience in career development, the school district said in a news release, most recently as the career services director at Pittsburg State University.  Cloninger will be replacing Shawnee Lorenz, current Launch facilitator, who recently asked to step down from her position effective at the end of this school year.  

Building upon the foundations implemented during this initial year by Lorenz, Cloninger will facilitate community partnerships for the existing Launch program (business and entrepreneurship strand and the STEM strand), as well as adding into the Launch umbrella each of the existing career pathways at PHS and PCMS. 

“We feel that the opportunity to partner with Mindy will enable us to LAUNCH each of our career development pathway programs into the future,” Brad Hanson, USD 250 assistant superintendent, said in the release. 

“Our ultimate goal is to provide each and every PHS graduate the opportunity to be exposed to all career opportunities our community has to offer, as well as the PSU higher education opportunities related to those career interests.”  

Cloninger will also work with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce to coordinate the school side of their Youth Leadership and Leadership High programs.  

“Mindy has an incredibly diverse background in workforce development, which is crucial to the success of our local businesses,” said Chamber President Blake Benson. “By aligning many of the responsibilities related to the Youth Leadership, Leadership High and LAUNCH programs, this ensures that students have a clear, effective pathway to workforce readiness from 6-12 grade and beyond.” 

Cloninger will begin this partnership with USD 250 and the Chamber on August 1.