Pennsylvania’s Career Readiness Initiative is well underway thanks to a $100,000 planning grant from JPMorgan Chase for the New Skills for Youth project. With Team PA providing technical assistance in the form of project management and as a convener, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) – along with the Pennsylvania Departments of Labor & Industry, Community and Economic Development and Agriculture – are working with cross-sector stakeholders as part of a statewide team.

The project aims to better prepare students in Pennsylvania to enter the workforce. More than just answering the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” it’s ensuring that students have experiences to explore the ways in which they excel, their interests, and how those align with existing and predicted employment opportunities using labor market information. If executed well, everyone will reap the benefits: students will find careers that align with their interests and the opportunities available. Additionally, businesses will have the qualified labor pipeline they need.

Across our commonwealth, there are regional examples of career readiness activities that will both inform and advance the work at the state level. In order to capture the best practices already in action, Team PA is managing the process to conduct inventories of K-12 education, workforce development work, and businesses through local chambers. These inventories will provide a clearer picture of existing career readiness undertakings such as business-education-community partnerships, formal career pathways programs, work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities.

By bringing so many partners to the table and thoroughly examining existing work, the team is looking to build upon the strong foundation already in place, minimize any duplication of effort, and identify gaps. In October, PDE will travel to Washington, D.C. to present our work thus far and our three-year plan going forward with the hopes of securing a $2.5 million implementation grant.

Stay tuned for future updates and please email us at if you are interested in being formally involved in the initiative.