In August 2019, Pennsylvania was one of six states to receive a $100,000 Planning Grant over two years from the National Governors Association (NGA) and Strada Education Network. The grant is focused on the 1.4 million adults in Pennsylvania with some postsecondary education but no degree (aka near/partial completers), and through this planning grant, our hope is to create a statewide strategy to:

  1. Reduce the number of near/partial completers by…
  2. Connecting near/partial completers with relevant postsecondary educational opportunities in order to…
  3. Close existing workforce gaps.

Team Pennsylvania is operating as the fiscal agent, with Abby Smith and Allison Jones of the Governor’s Policy Office serving as project leads. The rest of the core team includes the Department of Education, the Department of Labor & Industry, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

There are two key components of this project:

  1. Connect data within the commonwealth: we have relevant data housed in many different agencies, bureaus, and divisions, and through this grant project, we will connect those data sources to paint a more complete picture of this population so we can formulate appropriate policy solutions. To that end, we have already helped coordinate multiple meetings to create data sharing MOUs, as well as identified data requests that the Governor’s Office can put into action.
  2. Elevate this population to a state-level conversation: the grant team spoke at the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the Keystone Command Center, the Team Pennsylvania Board of Directors meeting, and other senior level meetings to create a sense of urgency and understanding around a critical population needed to close existing workforce gaps.

In August 2020, the grant team received additional funding to meet some of the immediate education and workforce needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)’s #Prepared4PA initiative, the grant is supporting pilot programs for adult learners to acquire credentials that provide a short, clear path to the skills for reentry into the workforce launching Fall 2021.

Learn more about this grant project by visiting the final report StoryMap.