Pa. tapped for $2.3M, six-state workforce development effort | Tuesday Morning Coffee

August 20, 2019 7:05 am

Delaware County Community College (WikiMedia Commons

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

We’re back from the beach, tanned, rested and ready to dive, feet-first, into what’s sure to be a busy back-to-school season for both the kids and our elected leaders. But before we get rolling, how about super-ultra-mega-wicked thanks to Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes? We can’t thank her enough for ably keeping things rolling while we made no decision harder than choosing between our second or third lobster roll.

Since we’re still a tad sun-stroked, we’re going to ease into things this morning with an announcement by the National Governors Association that Pennsylvania will be one of six states that have been picked for a $2.3 million grant program intended to “strengthen [the] pathways between education and careers.”

And if you think that sounds a whole lot like the public policy equivalent of the Chicago Cubs’ legendary double-play combo (Tinker to Evers to Chance), you’d be right. It’s all about workforce development: partnering industry, government and education to get folks the training they need so they can find worthwhile employment.

Photo via pxHere

Pennsylvania, along with Louisiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Wyoming are among the beneficiaries of the 18-month-long grant program funded by the Indianapolis-based Strada Education Network, which describes itself as a a “a national social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful paths between education and employment.”

In a statement, the NGA said each state will get $100K in start-up cash, technical assistance, and access to Strada’s proprietary data, all in the name of helping them build “data-driven approaches to connect residents to jobs in growing industries, strengthening local economies and helping people embark on meaningful careers that allow them to support themselves and their families.”

That’s particularly important, given that 47.6 percent of adults aged 25-64 have earned a credential beyond high school. And if there’s one thing we kept hearing during the most recent budget season, it was the importance of state policies that help connect students — of all ages — to the training programs they need to be successful.

Pa. State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein addresses the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday, March 18, 2019 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

“Almost every state across the country has set an ambitious attainment goal for itself, and the best way to meet this goal is to dedicate substantial resources to serving students who either never pursued postsecondary education, or have earned some college credit but not a credential,” Amanda Winters, the NGA’spostsecondary education program director, said in a statement,. “We are thrilled to begin this crucial work with the Educate for Opportunity cohort and are confident that it will lead to meaningful progress.”

The data the states have been given access to “has reshaped and innovated some of our nation’s biggest industries,” Strada Executive Vice President for National Engagement and Philanthropy Carol D’Amico, said. “With the right sets of data – and through partnership to apply it – we believe consumer insights can have the same effect for the connections among education, training and work in state policy. We look forward to partnering with these innovative states to help millions of people at risk of getting left behind without the benefit of education and training designed to move them up the career and wage ladder.”

The project runs from Sept. 1, 2019 through March 2021. Representatives from each state will meet in St. Louis, Mo. on Sept 18 for a more formal kick-off ceremony.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.