Indiana, Oklahoma, 22 Others Receive $100k Youth Initiative Grants

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The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has announced that the state has been chosen as one of 24 states to be given a $100,000 grant that will be used for preparing students to work for high-skill, in-demand industries. The grants are being awarded by the New Skills for Youth Initiative (NSFY).

The Associated Press’ Katrina Lamansky writes that JPMorgan Chase began the five-year, $75 million program to create more financial opportunities for students.

Across the country, only 50% of young people have post-secondary degrees, which are the means that give kids a chance to be eligible for well-paying jobs by the time they are 25, according to ISBE.

The state has been researching the areas where skilled workers are needed, such as manufacturing, It has also made it a priority to find ways to provide appropriate career education at the high school and the community college levels.

Students need hands-on experience that can set up a foundation for high-paying jobs, explained State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Education also secured the same $100,000 in grant money. The grants are the first of what are phase-one initiatives that will scan five years.

Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister was thankful for the extra resources. She said:

“Amid diminished resources in education funding, we are excited and honored to accept this New Skills for Youth Initiative grant, which will strengthen our efforts to ensure all public schoolchildren in Oklahoma are college- and career-ready, Our focus will be to bring greater value in earning a high school diploma where students have more clearly identified options aligned with their passion, interest and strengths.

In phase one of the program, the states granted the award will also be assigned technical assistance and peer support from NSFY. This aid will take the form of a diagnostic assessment of the state’s current career preparation system and will include instructions for the implementation of the new initiative, reports Rachel Goodwin of KTUL-TV.

The states chosen to receive the grant will be eligible to apply for the phase-two offering. The school districts will be assessed by evaluating the commitment demonstrated, and the states’ability to follow-through on the action plans included in the first phase of the program.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she was dedicated to making sure that all students graduate with the skills necessary to be the best they can be. She added that these funds would help the state move toward this goal, reports Inside Indiana Business’ Alex Brown.

In 2015, 54% of students in the state of Oklahoma attained a degree or an advanced credential after they graduated from high school. The Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development said that 77% of new jobs in 2025 will require advanced certification, writes Robin Hohweiler for the Woodward News.

Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives for JPMorgan Chase, said:

“We must address the youth career crisis, and it starts in our schools, The grants kick-start an effort to ensure career and technical education systems are better aligned with the needs of business and leaders throughout states that are committed tackling youth employment.”