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Wolf Administration Awards More Than $3 Million to Connect Businesses with Students, Expand Access to Job Training


Awardees will receive Business-Education Partnership Grants to help prepare and educate the workforce of tomorrow.

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier today announced the department's plan to distribute more than $3 million in Business-Education Partnership (BEP) Grant funding to 22 workforce development organizations statewide that work to connect Pennsylvania businesses with school districts and students to better prepare youth to enter into an ever-changing workforce.

"The pandemic changed every aspect of our lives, including how we educate our students and prepare them to join Pennsylvania's workforce," Secretary Berrier said. "These BEP grants play a vital role in helping students gain the skills to eventually meet the needs of employers across the commonwealth. We are so proud to be awarding nearly $3.1 million to local workforce development boards across Pennsylvania. They will use this money to continue operating their programs that increase awareness of in-demand technical careers for students, parents, guardians, and school faculty."

The partnerships offer career-related experiences and opportunities for students through soft-skills development, internships, workplace shadowing, and career mentoring, all with the goal of informing more young learners about high-priority occupations and career paths available in the commonwealth.

"One of Governor Wolf's key workforce development objectives is providing students with the proper training to secure good-paying jobs once they leave the classroom," said Secretary Berrier. "In the previous round of BEP grants, the commonwealth helped to fund activities that served more than 35,000 people across Pennsylvania. We are simply letting students know what opportunities exist and offering solid first-work experience that puts them on the path of a successful career."

The following Business-Education Partnership Grants and amounts were awarded.


Berks County Workforce Development Board (Berks County - $141,164)

This program brings employers into the classroom to directly provide students with career education and necessary skill attainment. It also brings the student to the employer to gain first-hand knowledge of high-priority careers as part of career prep guidance plans and supports parents in understanding career options.             

Bucks County Workforce Development Board (Bucks - $150,000)

This grant will provide opportunities for high school students to explore employment in the biotechnology industry and also provide hands-on workplace readiness training for students at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Some funds will help extend availability of the Mobile Fabrication Lab to schools in Bucks County.

Chester County Workforce Development Board (Chester - $150,000)

The goal of the project is to achieve three core objectives: provide authentic learning for career exploration; expand awareness of the Career Ready Chesco website as a single source for both schools and employers to connect for career-related experiences; and develop after-school and summer career academies to include multiple-year offerings from high-priority industries, allowing students to matriculate to a new level each year.

Delaware County Workforce Development Board (Delaware - $150,000)

The grant supports two career exploration summer camps for 30 youth ages 11-18, with credentialing for high school students; career awareness and readiness workshops for 100 middle-school students; three career acceleration programs for 40 adults, each focused on a single industry -- healthcare, IT and customer service; and virtual and in-person career panels and career fairs.

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board (Lehigh, Northampton - $150,000)

Workforce Board Lehigh Valley will integrate workforce coordinators into the Lehigh Valley's schools to work with guidance counselors and teachers to engage youth with career exploration, work experiences in local targeted industry sectors, and training options at local providers.

Montgomery County Workforce Development Board (Montgomery - $118,107.88)

This project will address several challenges in Montgomery County around workforce pipeline development in construction, healthcare, and manufacturing and a lack of opportunities for students to engage in meaningful work-based learning opportunities outside of career and technical education centers.

Philadelphia County Workforce Development Board (Philadelphia - $150,000)

Teachers will participate in professional development sessions to learn how to integrate career exposure into their classroom and will implement a career-connected service-learning project with their high school students to spread awareness among middle school students and their families. High school students will benefit from career exposure and share their knowledge via peer-to-peer activity.


Southern Alleghenies (Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset - $108,497)

Grant will be used to motivate students in grades 6-12 to pursue STEM and technology careers. The program aims to extend opportunity to employers, parents, and secondary schools to develop our future workforce through innovative and interactive project activities; build partnerships that cultivate an ecosystem that provides opportunities in education, promotes training and encourages resource sharing; and provides local educators opportunity to gain knowledge and insights from local employers.       

Southwest Corner (Beaver, Greene, Washington - $150,000)

The Southwest Corner BEP program will focus on all school districts in Beaver, Greene and Washington Counties to provide information on career trends, needs and gaps to three main audiences: teachers, students and parents/guardians. 

Three Rivers (Allegheny - $150,000)

Partner4Work will work with employers and businesses in the Allegheny County and Pittsburgh region to connect students to businesses and high-priority occupations through building a deeper relationship between career and technical education (CTE) programs, active co-op programs and employer networks. This will expose CTE students to a wide range of occupations corresponding with their CTE path of study while providing access to entry-level jobs, filling vacant jobs and providing marketable skills to students.

Westmoreland/Fayette Business Education Partnership (Westmoreland, Fayette - $150,000)

Grant funding will be used to create a BEP that improves and connects education and business by providing career awareness/readiness activities that engage students, educators, businesses, and parents/guardians with a primary focus on high-priority occupations for the Westmoreland-Fayette area. Activities will connect students with real-world applications and relevant practices that are used in the workforce.


Central Workforce Development Board (Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union - $150,000)

The program facilitates effective connections between all stakeholders in alignment with commonwealth goals and business expectations. Objectives include increasing career awareness, increasing workforce competencies, facilitating student/teacher in-the-workplace events and networking industry mixers, and expanding current, effective initiatives to advance and grow the talent pipeline in Central PA.

Lancaster County Workforce Development Board (Lancaster - $150,000)

The objective is to expand Career Ready Lancaster! and to support activities identified in the three-year strategic plan of CRL. These activities focus on the three areas of work-based learning, outreach and equity.

North Central Workforce Development Board (Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter - $150,000)

The program aims to ensure that youth, parents/guardians, and school districts in the region are aware of the career opportunities in the region and in the commonwealth and understand the education and skills needs of local employers -- while increasing outreach to additional community partners, students, WIOA- and TANF-Youth participants, therefore creating a pipeline of workers for employers while addressing the skills gap.

South Central (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Perry, York - $150,000)

Through a dedicated regional school district liaison, the business services and partnerships established through SCPA Works Engage! Program and PA CareerLink business services will be leveraged for enhanced connection with key school district personnel to promote student connection to industry.


Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board (Lackawanna - $150,000)

The overall objective of this project lies specifically in the fusion of information and the provision of hands-on activities targeting intermediate and high school students, thus enabling the acquisition of knowledge that promote both short- and long-term goal planning and career decision-making capabilities.

Luzerne-Schuylkill Counties Workforce Development Board (Luzerne, Schuylkill - $140,000)

The grant will support continued work with local career and technical schools to recruit students to the many internship opportunities developed with local employers. The area's technical schools attract students from across their counties, allowing the program to concentrate on administrative efforts while extending program services across a wide geographical area.

Northern Tier Workforce Development Board (Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming - $150,000)

The board plans to continue its successful BEP program and provide career coaches to school districts in the workforce area.  Career coaches connect students to local employers and introduce students to careers and pathways available to them.  Career education and exploration activities will be provided to students K-12, and businesses will be impacted by connecting with students and educators.

Poconos Counties Workforce Development Board (Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Carbon - $27,225)

The Education Partnership Project aims to promote and strengthen symbiotic relationships between Carbon County's school districts and business community by educating the public on STEM and other high-priority industry careers.


Northwest Workforce Development Board (Erie, Crawford, Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion - $150,000)

The board will launch the Uniquely Abled Academy, which will focus on young adults with autism to train in a career pathway in computer numerical control (CNC) Machining in Crawford and Erie counties. The board will also connect rural students to local employers for work experience or company tours to offer hands-on experiences with local industries in the area.

Tri County Business Education Partnership (Armstrong, Butler, Indiana - $150,000)

The partnership will connect schools, employers, parents and students to career-related experiences and opportunities. Objectives include identifying gaps between education and employers in preparing the emerging workforce for regional career and employment opportunities; supporting capacity building; and providing career awareness to youth linked to regional high-demand occupations.

West Central Career Connections (Mercer, Lawrence - $150,000)

The Career Connections project will support career exploration activities for youth, parents/guardians and educators through direct connections with local businesses representing key employment sectors and high-priority occupations. The goal is to provide immersive events to allow students to ask their own questions and integrate the knowledge into their academic and career plans.

The Business-Education Partnership grants from L&I are funded at 100 percent through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

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