We are pleased to report that Team Pennsylvania has been awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The grant will fund career readiness projects in up to 54 school districts as part of their K-12 school counseling and career services plans, which are required under state regulation Chapter 339. Team PA has been coordinating efforts in career readiness since last year. Read more about these efforts here.
The activities outlined in these plans are grounded in the Pennsylvania Career Education and Work Standards in four key areas: Career Awareness and Preparation; Career Acquisition; Career Retention and Advancement; and Entrepreneurship. The following are examples of the career readiness activities that will be funded:
- Developing career pathways programs in high-skill, high-demand industries that lead to high-value certifications and credentials;
- Supporting intermediaries that facilitate partnerships between education and business; and
- Implementing work-based learning experiences, apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other opportunities that deepen the connection between the classroom and the workplace.
Through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU), IUs will review project applications from school districts, publicize the opportunity, and distribute the funds. In order for school districts to receive funding for their career readiness project, districts must meet the following criteria:
- Partnership with LWDB: School districts must partner with their Local Workforce Development Boards, and have the option to partner with other entities as well, including but not limited to their local career and technical center (CTC), a local employer, a postsecondary institution such as a community college, or a local chamber of commerce.
- Attend LMI Information Session: School districts will be required to participate in an information session that discusses how to use data and labor market information to inform school district career readiness plans.
- Projects Grounded in LMI & 1+ HPO: School districts must demonstrate a need for their career readiness project using labor market information and through a connection with at least one High Priority Occupation (HPO).
By encouraging these partnerships and grounding career readiness work at the district level in workforce data, this initiative aims to ensure that our localities have established practices of working together, using shared definitions and shared data.
Overall, this project will aim to better align and coordinate the K-12 system with the workforce system on a micro-level. As a statewide project, the activities funded by the mini-grants will then become the foundation for scaling, sharing, and replicating identified best practices.