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Obama Announces New $100 Million Youth CareerConnect Grants Program for High Schools

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November 19, 2013 04:06 pm

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President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan talk with students while visiting a classroom at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Today, President Barack Obama announced a new collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education to make $100 million available for Youth CareerConnect grants to provide high school students with industry-relevant education and skills necessary for a successful future.

Funding for the program will come from revenues from the H-1B visa program and will fund approximately 25 to 40 grants for individual or multi-site projects. Grants will be awarded to local education agencies, public or non-profit local workforce entities, or non-profits with education reform experience. At a minimum, applicants will also be required to provide a match of 25 percent of the grant award.  Awards are anticipated to be made in early 2014 for program implementation to align with the 2014-15 school year.

In a statement, Alliance President Bob Wise said the program has “great potential” to reduce the high school dropout rate and revitalize students’ interest in their education by pairing rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum with relevant work-based learning opportunities.

“Successfully stemming the tide of high school dropouts—who number more than 1 million each school year—and ensuring that they graduate prepared for college and a career represents a tremendous economic opportunity, said Wise, who pointed to data from the Alliance finding that increasing the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent for just one high school class would create as many as 65,700 new jobs and boost the national economy by as much as $10.9 billion.

Wise added that successful education models, such as Linked Learning, already implement innovative partnerships between individual schools and businesses and institutions of higher education, making high school more engaging and preparing students for college and a career. “It is time to bring this idea to scale,” Wise said.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the program is designed to “encourage America’s school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment system, and their partners to scale up evidence-based high school models that will transform the high school experience for America’s youth. ” Specifically, the program will strengthen America’s talent pipeline through:

  • Integrated Academic and Career-Focused Learning: Grants will provide students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum to increase students’ employability in in-demand industries and prepare them for employment, post-secondary education, long-term occupational skills training, or registered apprenticeships.
  • Work-Based Learning and Exposure to the World of Work: Strong partnerships will provide work-based learning opportunities.  In addition to actual work experience, youth participants will also participate in field trips, job-shadowing, or other types of opportunities that provide students with exposure to different career paths and prepare them for the world of work.
  • Robust Employer Engagement: Employer partners will provide work-based learning and mentoring, creating a path for students to in-demand industries and occupations including those in information technologies, advanced manufacturing and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields . Employers will also work closely with schools on professional development and training for staff to drive the sustainability of the program over the long term.
  • Individualized Career and Academic Counseling: As an integral part of the program design, students will be provided with individualized career and academic counseling experiences to strengthen their career and post-secondary awareness and explore opportunities beyond high school.
  • Integration of Post-secondary Education and Training: Students will participate in education and training, while they are still in high school, that leads to credit toward a post-secondary degree or certificate and an industry recognized credential, where appropriate.

More information on the program is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/19/fact-sheet-youth-careerconnect-grants. Applications for funding are available at http://www.doleta.gov/ycc/.

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