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.
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.
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.