By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Helping Philadelphia’s college-bound students stay in school and succeed. That’s the focus of a two-day conference at Arcadia University in Glenside, Montgomery County.

A student who is the first in his family to go to college may face questions of confidence in a cultural shift to collegiate life. Ed Smith-Lewis, the Director of the Career Pathways Initiative at the United Negro College Fund, says colleges need to think beyond remedial education to help those students succeed.

“Sometimes people have the mindset that they aren’t supposed to be there. And there’s a question for how do the people within the institution embrace the student so they should know that they’re there for a purpose,” Smith-Lewis said. “They’re supposed to be there, and that even though it’s hard, they’ll actually get through it.”

Smith-Lewis made his comments at a conference for counselors and educators sponsored by the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable.

He says today’s students not only need to be able to write and communicate, but to master skills including project management and tech literacy — skills that will prepare them for 21st-century jobs that may not even exist yet.