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03/01/2019

Wolf Administration Highlights Importance of Career Exploration, Tours Dallas High School

Dallas, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani today visited Dallas High School in Luzerne County to highlight their recently awarded Career Readiness Mini-Grant to help students learn about career opportunities in their region, and to discuss 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 exploration projects, which allow students to learn about 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 exploration programs help to ensure students are job-ready upon graduation and prepared to meet the challenges of a 21st century career," 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 budget unveiled last month builds on the success of PAsmart 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.

The governor also created the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to expand the collaboration between government and the private sector to address the skills gap and worker shortages. The departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor and Industry, and State will work with external leaders from the Chamber of Business and Industry, AFL-CIO and Team Pennsylvania to build the strongest workforce in the nation.

During the visit to Dallas High School, Cipriani toured a freshmen Career and Consumer Science class, where students were participating in interest inventories to gauge their interest in high priority occupations. She also toured the school's Welding prototyping lab, and saw students using wood, plastics and metal fabrication machinery. She talked with students about the skills they are learning to get good jobs in the region, as well as their job shadowing experiences with local employers.

"Dallas High School students have directly benefited from the Career Mini-Grant through the expansion of the comprehensive career program, with an increased emphasis on work based experiences in High Priority Occupations," said Dallas High School Principal Jason Rushmer.  "DHS requires all students to successfully complete a four-year career program, which includes interpersonal skill development, personalized meetings with school counselors, job site visits, job shadows and a capstone presentation to a community panel."

Dallas High School, located in Luzerne County, is focused on excellence in education.  They utilize a rigorous, practical curriculum, technologically dynamic instruction, co-curricular opportunities, the workplace, and the community to help students become collaborative, competitive and resourceful. Their Career Awareness Program combines activities, events and assignments to help students learn about different careers, discover their unique interests, acquire helpful skills, and ultimately use what they have learned to pursue their professional goals. 

Team Pennsylvania is a non-partisan, charitable, non-profit created in 1997 to bring government and private sector leaders together for the betterment of Pennsylvania. For a complete list of school districts that were awarded mini-grants, visit Team Pennsylvania.    

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lindsay Bracale or Penny Ickes, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov

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