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Last November President Obama announced a new grant program to encourage America’s school districts, colleges and universities, and employers to work together to transform the high school experience by combining academics with career-focused learning and job skills.
P-Tech High School in Brooklyn
The President originally outlined the program in his budget request for the Department of Education for 2014 as well as in his State of the Union Address in 2013:
“Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in computing and engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this.”
The grant program is called Youth CareerConnect, and it emphasizes:
- Robust Employer Engagement & Work-Based Learning: to provide students with the education and training that combines rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum to increase students’ employability skills. Employer partners will provide work-based learning, job-shadowing, and mentoring opportunities to ensure students’ learning is relevant.
- A Focus on High-Demand Industries, Including STEM: to create a pathway for students to enter high-demand industries such as information technology, healthcare, and other STEM-related and manufacturing fields. Grantees will ensure recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups including girls and minorities to expand the talent pool for these high-demand occupations.
- Integration of Post-secondary Education and Training: to enable high school students to participate in education and training that leads to credit toward a post-secondary degree or certificate and an industry recognized credential, where appropriate.
This week President Obama announced the winners of the Youth CareerConnect grants during a visit to Bladensburg High School in Maryland.
President Obama meets with students at Bladensburg High School.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will get a $7 million grant to build out new career academies in six high schools that will focus on healthcare, biotechnology and other technology-related industries. The program includes 10,000 summer internships.
Innovative Frontier Arizona (IFA) in Pima County Arizona, a regional STEM career-pathway initiative focused on Southern Arizona’s border counties, received $5.4 million. “IFA works to align education, workforce development and economic development with the needs of Southern Arizona’s industries. The funds will be used to replicate promising sector strategies that have emerged as a result of direct industry involvement in the delivery of education at the high school and community college levels.”
A complete listing of the grant recipients can be found at the bottom of the Youth CareerConnect Fact Sheet.