Friday, March 1, 2019

State Officials Tour Saint Clair School; Highlights Importance of Career Exploration

Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani today visited Saint Clair Elementary/Middle School in Schuylkill County.

She toured the Counseling4Careers program, which was recently awarded a Career Readiness Mini-Grant to help students learn about career opportunities, and highlighted Governor Tom Wolf's Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) provides opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement.

"Pennsylvania's economic future depends on a well-educated and highly-trained workforce," said Cipriani. "We proudly support these career readiness projects, which allow students 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."

More than $180,000 in Career Readiness Mini-Grants have been awarded to 41 school districts across the commonwealth. For this year's grant program, Team Pennsylvania partnered with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units and Intermediate Units across the commonwealth to review applications and select grantees. The grants were funded through a Strategic Innovation Grant with state Re-employment Fund dollars to help students learn about career opportunities and create stronger connections between schools and community partners.

"Career readiness programs expose students early to real-world work experiences," said Cipriani. "Ensuring that Pennsylvania businesses have access to a world class workforces is a priority of Governor Wolf's, which is why his SWEAP proposal increases investments in schools and promotes partnerships with the private sector to prepare students for emerging fields and careers."

The governor's recently unveiled budget, builds on the success of PAsmartOpens In A New Window to create opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The governor's Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) expands access to early childhood education, increases investments in schools, and partners with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative.

To more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians, the governor is also creating the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to bring together government, schools and industry like never before. The departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor & Industry, and State will work with external leaders including Chamber of Business and Industry President Gene Barr, and AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale to find innovative solutions that close the skills gap.

During the visit to Saint Clair Area Elementary/Middle School, Cipriani visited a third-grade classroom and talked with students participating in a Counseling4Careers lesson. The curriculum was funded, in part, through two recent mini-grant awards to the school district to create educational materials to assist students with career awareness exploration.

"Through our bi-weekly mentoring periods, community partner presentations, and field trips, we have put into action what research has shown to positively impact student achievement," said Saint Clair Elementary/Middle School Guidance Counselor Melissa Carr. "During our Counseling4Careers class, students explore multiple interests to spark learning to prepare them for future career success."

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