World of Work logo

Learning about the world of work is vital in helping students to learn more about themselves, including their strengths, interests, and areas in which they can grow and further develop for their future career. Each 30 minute episode has two parts. The first part is an interview with a professional in an exciting career field, which we hope you will listen to with your child.

The second part is a panel discussion with educators who are working to guide our students in all areas of career exploration. This part of the episode is geared towards caregivers looking to support their learners in all stages of their career exploration. Through these interviews and panel discussions, the PBS Ready to Learn initiative hopes to expand your resources, and to open new exciting dialogues with your children about their futures.

Download the World of Work Podcast Journal Page

Preparing your child for their future career starts with helping them to build confidence, resilience, and a variety of life and social skills that they will use now, and in their futures

Download the Parental Resources list

Lisa DonovanThis episode feature’s author, Lisa Donovan.  Lisa Donovan is the author of Birds in My Backyard (2019) and Birds at the Beach and Beyond (2023), both written for children up to age seven. She has an undergraduate degree in Communications from Grove City College and a Masters in Professional Writing degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She worked in corporate communications and training before raising a family and volunteering for numerous organizations. Currently, she serves on two boards, volunteers, and markets her books through programs in schools, stores, libraries, and events. Follow her on Amazon or


Podcast Educator Activity

Growth Mindset Challenge:
This episode’s Growth Mindset message is “Accepting feedback helps me to learn and grow.” Feedback is meant to be helpful, but sometimes, it makes us feel like we have made a mistake, or that we can’t do anything right.  Your Growth Mindset Challenge of the Week is to listen to the feedback you get from others- parents, teachers, coaches, friends- and say thank you! Keep an open mind and remind yourself that your grown-ups are here to help and support you, and feedback is a good thing!

Melinda LynchThis episode’s interview is with a realtor, Melinda Lynch. Melinda Lynch is a Realtor and Team Leader with over a decade of experience in serving the real estate needs throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. Her and her team of real estate professionals are currently in the top .5% of Realtors nationwide. She resides in Moon Township with her husband Devon and 2 sons Nicholas and Bradley.


Podcast Educator Activity

Growth Mindset Challenge:
This episode’s Growth Mindset message is “Success takes time and effort.” Sometimes, we try something new, and it doesn’t quite go according to plan. Thinking with a growth mindset means that we keep trying, instead of giving up. Your Growth Mindset Challenge of the Week is to ask someone you admire how they got SO GOOD at one of their special talents or skills. Then, share with them one of your special talents or skills that you have been working hard on.

Carrie CessnaThis episode features a paralegal, Carrie Cessna. Carrie E. Cessna is a National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal with nearly ten years of experience in the profession. She has worked across a diverse legal landscape from litigation to transactional and including the energy, environmental, healthcare, insurance, and technology fields, among others. Carrie currently works in tech for a company that is developing cars that drive themselves! Carrie enjoys reading, coffee, the great outdoors, hiking, skiing, cheese, and spending time with her dog, Cashew.


Podcast Educator Activity

Growth Mindset Challenge:
Are you ready for our Growth Mindset Challenge of the Week?  This episode, we talked about the importance of being a lifelong learner.  What is one thing that you have been meaning to learn more about?  Ask your grown ups what they know on this topic, and create a graphic organizer or list showing the new things you have learned.  Then, with your grown up’s help, do some research! Use books, the internet, or your local library to expand your learning on this new topic!

This episode’s special guest is Antoine Malloy, a professional carpenter and owner of Malloy Contracting, LLC. Antoine’s specialty is home rennovations, and he loves helping others through completing home projects, big or small!


Podcast Educator Activity

Growth Mindset Challenge:
When we approach mistakes with our growth mindset thinking, mistakes can be a powerful learning tool!  For this episode’s Growth Mindset Challenge, ask a grown up to tell you about a time that they have made a mistake in their life.   After listening to their story, ask them, what did they learn from this mistake?  Then, think about a mistake that you have made.  Share this with your grown up, and think of some ways that this mistake has helped you to grow!

What is Growth Mindset?

The term “growth mindset” refers to a way of thinking that helps a person to be his or her best self.  When we tap into growth mindset thought patterns, we focus on the positives, rather than the negatives.  Reframing the thoughts and opinions that we have about ourselves helps us to highlight our positive qualities, rather than our shortcomings, and shows a growth mindset point of view.  When we give in to our negative thoughts and opinions about ourselves and our abilities, that is using what is called a “fixed mindset.”  Fixed mindset thinking can chip away at a person’s self esteem, and stand in the way of them striving to achieve more.  Here are some examples of fixed mindset thoughts, as well as growth mindset statements that can combat these negative patterns and help us to grow:

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
I will never be good at Algebra. If I work hard and practice, I will get better at Algebra.
I can’t believe I made a mistake. Mistakes help me to learn and grow.
I am the worst baseball player on the team. I have a lot to learn from my teammates.  I’m so lucky to have them.

What are “Soft Skills”?

Soft skills are the abilities that relate to how we work and interact with other people. They are not technical skills related to any one job, rather they are qualities and characteristics that can help us in many aspects of our lives. We often refer to these technical skills as “hard skills.”

Soft skills fit under several different categories; teamwork, problem solving, communication, critical thinking, time management, and interpersonal skills. For instance, empathy, a quality that fits under the interpersonal skills umbrella, would be a helpful soft skill for an individual wanting to be a teacher to possess. Compare the soft skill of empathy to knowing the parts of speech and how to teach them, a hard skill for an English teacher, and you can see the difference between the two different skill sets.

Soft skills can be taught at any age, and are important to work on with your children, as soft skills will prepare them not only for their chosen career in the future, but for a successful life.

Jen Ford


About Jen Ford

Welcome to The Wonderful World of Work! Jen Ford is a veteran educator in the Canon-McMillan School District. She started out as a middle school English teacher, and currently is a K-4 school counselor. Jen currently services students in two buildings in the district, Borland Manor Elementary and Wylandville Elementary, which is a PBS Ready to Learn and WQED Smartschools building. She enjoys instructing her students on all areas of social-emotional learning and career development through the use of TEAMology’s dynamic curriculum. Jen’s passion for her students extends outside of the classroom and onto the trail, as she serves as a Girls on the Run coach for Wylandville and Borland Manor Elementary schools. Her ties to her school district extend past professional ones, as she is a Canon-McMillan alum, and a proud parent of a CM student. When Jen isn’t at school, she enjoys spending time with her six-year-old son, Mason, her fiancé Kevin, and their dogs, Atlas and Ruby. Her hobbies include reading, baking, embroidery and writing.

Check out Jen’s Teachable Moment, “Modeling Mistakes