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Readiness for Career Entry and Success Research icon About the Readiness for Career Entry and Success Research Alliance

As the industrial landscape of western Pennsylvania changes, the workforce needs of the region are also changing. This alliance brings together educators, representatives from higher education institutions and industry representatives from western Pennsylvania to better align workforce supply and demand, and advance educators’ use of evidence to prepare their students for postsecondary success.

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The REL Mid-Atlantic: Career Readiness Research Alliance

Planned and ongoing activities

Pennsylvania requires students to create individualized career plans that connect their interests and skills to potential careers. The REL is working with districts in western Pennsylvania to 1) provide information, resources, and coaching to help them improve their practices around individualized student career plans, including the support they provide students in developing plans; 2) the strategies they use to integrate the plans into students’ educational experiences; 3) the strategies and tools they use to assess the quality of students’ individualized career plans; and 4) the methods they use to track students’ progress implementing their individual plans.

The REL is working with districts in southwestern PA about how to assess the degree to which students are adequately prepared, in need of support, or making progress in developing soft skills. At the conclusion of this work, participating districts will have a list of soft skills they are addressing with students, ways they plan to assess those skills, and specific protocols for such assessments. Districts will also be prepared to interpret and communicate assessment results with each other, with students, with other educators, and with colleagues responsible for designing and revising soft-skills initiatives.

Completed activities

Research-based instruments for measuring students' soft skills Research-based instruments for measuring students' soft skills (373 KB)
This fact sheet provides a sample of instruments for assessing soft skills that can help educators identify students' strengths or challenges with different soft skills, such as teamwork or conscientiousness.

Student Career Readiness infographic Student career readiness infographic (606 KB)
Our latest infographic outlines how to prepare students for changing career requirements.

Soft Skills infographic Soft skills infographic (245 KB)
REL Mid-Atlantic developed an infographic on the soft skills employers seek in hew hires and why soft skills matter.

This workshop provided participants with an overview about what the research says about curricula that develop and promote in-demand, transferable knowledge and skills required by employers within the targeted fields of energy and biomedical sciences. Participants worked in district teams–in consultation with facilitators–to examine their own curricula and determine whether the curricula are likely to help students develop these career skills.

This workshop briefly reviewed research on career readiness knowledge and skills. Then, cross-sector groups discussed the skills needed to fulfill local industry needs, what is currently offered to help students learn those skills, and gaps between needed skills and learning opportunities to address them.


  • To create a durable framework to connect educators, students, and businesses to ensure secondary students are well-prepared to make informed and effective postsecondary decisions.
  • To increase local educators’ capacities to analyze workforce needs in the area in terms of required competencies and skills and to assess the degree to which their curricula, assessments, and programming help students build those competencies.

What Our Stakeholders Are Saying

Working to better prepare students for the workforce

  • Mary Kay Babyak, Consortium for Public Education

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

Research Alliance Facilitator: Jan Anderson, PhD
Name Title Organizational affiliation Organization location
Mary Kay Babyak Executive Director Consortium for Public Education Pennsylvania
Ken Bissell Coordinator of secondary education Greensburg Salem School District Pennsylvania
Sunanna Chand Director Remake Learning Council Pennsylvania
Jackie Foor Director of organizational advancement Consortium for Public Education Pennsylvania
Don Martin Assistant Executive Director Intermediate Unit 1 Pennsylvania
Scott Nelson Principal, Blackhawk High School Blackhawk School District Pennsylvania
Janice Nuzzo Director of student achievement Allegheny Valley School District Pennsylvania
Susan Puskar Director of Youth Innovation Workforce Development Board Pennsylvania
Abby Smith Director of Education and Workforce Development Team Pennsylvania Foundation Pennsylvania
Stephen Whitehead Associate provost of innovation and associate vice president of academic affairs California University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Interested in joining us or learning more? Contact us.