L&I and Team Pennsylvania Award Grants to Prepare Students for Careers

Tue., October 30, 2018 City of Philadelphia

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) and Team Pennsylvania today announced that $180,000 in Career Readiness Mini-Grants has been awarded to 41 school districts across the commonwealth. The grants will help students learn about career opportunities and create stronger connections between schools and community partners.

“We proudly support these career readiness projects, which help to build a bridge between school and real-world work experience,” said L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “Students need to explore their career options early, with hands-on training, so that they are well-prepared as they move into the workforce and post-secondary education.”

For this year’s grant program, Team Pennsylvania partnered with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and Intermediate Units (IUs) across the commonwealth to review applications and select grantees, awarding $20,000 in each of the nine regions in the commonwealth. The mini grants were funded through a Strategic Innovation Grant from L&I with state Reemployment Fund dollars.

“This project perfectly aligns with our organizational principles of partnership and ensuring Pennsylvania’s economic prosperity,” said Ryan C. Unger, President & CEO of Team Pennsylvania. “Students and their families want the same end result as employers want: graduates who are ready, willing, and able to take on the careers of tomorrow. These mini-grants bring us one step closer to that vision, not just through the career readiness activities, but through the long-standing partnerships between education, workforce development, and businesses that develop during the program.”

The project supports a key priority for Governor Wolf to promote collaboration between the K-12 system and the workforce system. Successful applicants are required to work with their local Workforce Development Boards and base their work on regional labor market needs.

The career readiness activities funded by the mini-grants include:

  • Conducting work-based learning experiences, job shadowing, and field trips to job sites;
  • Providing online programs that assist students with career awareness and exploration;
  • Facilitating professional development for educators;
  • Hosting career fairs, guest speakers, and mock interview programs;
  • Establishing, scaling, or sustaining career pathways; and
  • Educating/engaging parents/guardians about high-demand industries in the region.

This is the second year that the Career Readiness Mini-Grants were awarded. In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 45,000 students participated in a Career Readiness Mini-Grant project across Pennsylvania.

“We were able to make contacts with many employers within the community,” said Kimberlie Rieffannacht of Huntington Area School District, one of last year’s grant recipients. “This opportunity gave us a broader picture of the local labor market. We were able to tie specific skills to careers that elementary learners can explore.”

Team Pennsylvania is a non-partisan, charitable, non-profit created in 1997 to bring government and private sector leaders together for the betterment of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units works to ensure the strength of individual intermediate units, and to strengthen the system of intermediate units. IUs serve as liaisons between local schools and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Every year, more than 175,000 students and 75,000 educators and adults receive services from one of Pennsylvania’s twenty-nine intermediate units.

A complete list of school districts that were awarded the mini-grant can be found on the Team Pennsylvania website.

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Lindsay Bracale or Penny Ickes, L&I, 717-787-7530 ordlipress@pa.gov

Abby Smith, Team Pennsylvania, 717-233-1375

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