New skills for a changing workforce

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

The New Skills for Youth initiative aims to prepare students for well-paying jobs, with the help of community and technical colleges. 

Strengthening and expanding career-education opportunities is the goal of the New Skills for Youth initiative. Ten states will pilot the program: Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin. They’ll work to increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for careers.

Each state is receiving a $2 million grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Bringing together education leaders, business partners and community partners, they will transform how they design and develop career preparedness programs that will lead to high-skill, well-paying jobs.

“The number of young people who graduate from high school without the necessary skills to compete is one of the greatest moral and economic inequities of our time,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “These investments will help states build career education programs that align with the needs of growing industries and give young people a chance to succeed.”

Wisconsin is already working on this. Its new Regional Career Pathways Project is an effort in the state’s 16 technical college regions to connect student interests and workforce needs.

With this latest grant from JPMorgan, four technical colleges—Chippewa Valley, Madison Area, Milwaukee Area and Moraine Park Technical Colleges—will draw on CEO Champions to connect workforce-relevant education and training to local industry needs. Students will have the ability to see where professional opportunities exist and the business community can share their future employment needs.

In Tennessee, the grant aligns with the work of Drive to 55, a statewide initiative to equip 55 percent of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate.

“In Tennessee we know that education isn’t K through 12, it’s K through J—kindergarten to job,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a release.

Plans include providing regional expansion grants to new areas and industries, incentive grants to encourage innovation, and continuing to focus on research analyses to drive stronger practices and programs, leading to more students on course for success.

These state grants are part of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth Initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with CCSSO and Advance CTE.  The latest grants are part of Phase II of the program. During the first phase, 24 states and the District of Columbia received a $100,000 grant to pilot long-term career readiness education programs.

How are you preparing students for the workforce? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.