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Delaware awarded $2 million to improve career education

Today, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced Delaware as one of 10 states to receive a $2 million grant to strengthen and expand career pathways for the state’s youth and adults.


These state grants, which will be distributed over the next three years, are part of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with CCSSO and Advance CTE. This initiative is aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees and credentials aligned with high-skill jobs.


“In Delaware this year, nearly 6,000 students in 38 of 44 public high schools are enrolled in state-model pathway programs aligned to areas of high demand in Delaware’s economy,” Governor Jack Markell said. “This grant will support initiatives like this that are critical to preparing all students for success after high school. In the process, we will come closer to achieving our Delaware Promise, which is that by 2025 the percentage of Delawareans with a college degree or professional certificate will match the percentage of our jobs that will require one – 65 percent.”


The Delaware Pathways to Prosperity initiative supports the development of regional career pathways that accelerate academic and technical instruction, are responsive to labor-market demand, and engage employers. These innovative pathways are now being scaled across the state in high-demand industry sectors such as: finance, health care, culinary and hospitality management, computer science and networking, manufacturing logistics and production, and science and engineering. Each pathway offers high school students the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential, early college credit, and relevant work experience. These career pathways will be in place in all school districts in the state by the 2017-18 school year and there are currently 38 of 44 high schools participating.


“By earning industry-recognized credentials and college credits while in high school, our students graduate prepared for success,” said Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky. “This grant supports the alignment of our education and workforce systems.”


Delaware has received the New Skills for Youth grant after a rigorous review process, which included examination of Delaware’s plan to transform how the state designs and develops career preparedness education programs. The grant will support Delaware’s continued efforts to:

·         Build a comprehensive system of career preparation that aligns with the state and regional economies;

·         Scale and sustain meaningful work-based learning experiences for students in grades 7-14 by establishing a statewide workforce intermediary to place students into meaningful work experiences and support employers to recruit and onboard student talent;

·         Integrate education and workforce development efforts and data systems by establishing a direct link between education and training programs and changes in state and regional employment, as well as by creating a connected service model for students with disabilities and at-risk youth;

·         Coordinate financial support for Delaware Pathways by establishing a diversified funding model that includes public, private, and philanthropic support; and

·         Engage employers, educators, and community organizations to support Delaware Pathways by developing a robust communication and partnership strategy to coordinate services and activities across the public, private, and non-profit sectors.


The Delaware Pathways initiative is led by a steering committee, established by Governor Markell and chaired by Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College. The steering committee includes representatives from the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Department of Health & Social Services, the Delaware State Board of Education, United Way of Delaware, Rodel Foundation of Delaware, Delaware Manufacturers Association, Easter Seals of Delaware, Local School District Representatives, and area employers such as Delmarva Power, Invista, and the law offices of Young Conaway, Stargatt, & Taylor.


“We believe strongly in the need for greater workforce experience for Delaware students, and DBREC is proud to partner with other Delaware Pathways partners in moving this work forward,” said Ernie Dianastasis, chair of the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee. 


In March 2016, JPMorgan Chase and CCSSO awarded Delaware a $100,000 grant as part of the first phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative for planning and early implementation of long-term career readiness education programs that align with the needs of Delaware employers. In total, 24 states and the District of Columbia received Phase I grants.


The grant awarded today represents the second phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative, which provides 10 of the original 24 recipients with funding to execute the career-readiness plans they developed during the first phase. 


“We are pleased to invest in training programs here in Delaware that provide young people with the career skills they need to succeed,” said Marge Hannum, managing director, JPMorgan Chase. “These programs provide opportunities to individuals as well as growing industries.”


This new grant is the latest support for Delaware’s comprehensive strategy that includes collaboration among public and private partners across the state.


In recent months, Delaware has received $6.3 million in public and private support to expand career readiness programs and postsecondary opportunities for youth and adults. This includes a $3.5 million dollar grant to the Delaware Technical Community College as part of the U.S Department of Labor’s America’s Promise grant program, a $800,000 dollar grant to the Delaware Department of Labor as part of the ApprenticeshipUSA state expansion program, and, now, a $1.95 million dollar grant to the Delaware Department of Education as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative. These grant opportunities broaden the types of education and training programs available to Delaware youth and create additional opportunities for youth and adults to engage Delaware employers, earn industry certifications, and complete apprenticeship programs and/or two- and four-year degrees.


“These are exciting times as these recent awards enable us to continue aligning Delaware’s Workforce program efforts, such as the Apprenticeship and Training and the Delaware Pathways initiative, to provide opportunities to youth and adults and help meet some very critical needs of Delaware employers.” Labor Secretary Patrice Gilliam-Johnson said.


“And this is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” she added. “Pathways, for example, engages candidates on an individual level and seeks to combine work experience with instructional training as a way to help ensure success. We’re expecting big things to come.”

Alison May
(302) 735-4006