Delaware was one of 24 states to receive the grant

The Delaware Department of Education recently received a $100,000 grant to develop a career readiness action plan.

Delaware is among 24 states and the District of Columbia that secured grants  through phase one of New Skills for Youth. The grants are one piece of a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE.

Their primary focus is increasing economic opportunity for young people by strengthening career-focused education, starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with business needs.

Secretary of State Steven Godowsky said this is an essential step in expanding economic opportunity for young people across the state.

“Delaware has made tremendous progress in aligning our education and workforce development systems through Governor Jack Markell’s Delaware Pathways initiative,” Godowsky said. “We are thrilled that these funds will further create opportunities for students to earn industry-recognized credentials and early college credits to accelerate their career goals.”

Delaware, along with other phase one planning grant states, will be eligible to apply for the phase two grant opportunity. Phase two require states to demonstrate the commitment and capacity to execute the action plans developed in phase one.

Too few young people are receiving the education or training in high school and beyond that would put them on a track to qualify for these careers, said department officials. By the age of 25, only about half of young Americans have a meaningful postsecondary credential that enables them to compete for good jobs.

The U.S. youth unemployment rate is more than double the national rate.

In Delaware, the 2014 youth (age 20-24) unemployment rate for men was 15.8 percent. For women, it was 8.8 percent. This is compared to 5.8 percent for all other age demographics. For men and women of color, the youth unemployment rate was even higher at 18 percent for African Americans and 11.1 percent for Hispanics.

By the 2016-17 school years, more than 5,000 students in 29 of 44 public high schools will be enrolled in state-model pathway programs aligned to areas of high demand in Delaware’s economy, said state officials.  

These programs include finance, allied health, culinary and hospitality management, CISCO networking, computer science, manufacturing logistics and production, manufacturing/engineering technology, biomedical science, and engineering.

This work is further accelerated through the Delaware Pathways Strategic Plan, unveiled in February 2016 to more than 300 educators and employers.

For more information on the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity or CCSSO’s Career Readiness Initiative, visit http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Career_Readiness_Initiative.html.