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For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Contact:Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115

Massachusetts Receives $100,000 Grant for Career Readiness

MALDEN - The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to announce that Massachusetts has been awarded a $100,000 grant to develop a career readiness action plan that will help expand economic opportunity for young people across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is among 24 states and the District of Columbia that secured grants for this work through phase one of the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity. The grants are one piece of a $75 million, five-year initiative that JP Morgan Chase developed in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE. The initiative is aimed at increasing economic opportunity for young people by strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with business needs. "We are pleased that our administration's focus on workforce development and career and technical education have gained both recognition and investment from others around the country," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Our goal will continue to be statewide career preparation for all students that offers high quality, demand-driven, rigorous career pathways and career education across the Commonwealth." By the age of 25, only about half of Americans have a meaningful postsecondary credential that enables them to compete for good jobs, and the U.S. youth unemployment rate is more than double the national rate. Through phase one of New Skills for Youth, Massachusetts and other selected states will each receive a $100,000, six-month grant to perform a diagnostic assessment of their career preparation system and prepare for implementation of a new action plan. Grant recipients will also receive peer support from other grantees and expert technical assistance. "Strong career preparation programs help students see the relevance of their studies and map out a course for students to achieve their goals," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "I am appreciative of this planning grant, which will allow the Commonwealth to better align our approach to career and technical education with the knowledge and skills employers value." An independent advisory committee recommended phase one grant recipients after a rigorous review process that considered states' proposed plans, cross-sector partnerships and demonstrated commitment and capacity to transform systems of career preparation according to the grant guidelines. In the judgment of the advisory committee, the selected states showed promise in their career readiness plans and indicated strongly that this work is a priority for them. Massachusetts and the other grant recipients will be eligible to apply for the phase two grant, which will require states to demonstrate the commitment and capacity to execute the action plans developed in phase one. "States across the country are adjusting their career readiness programs to ensure they adequately prepare students for their next step after graduation," said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. "States have seized this grant opportunity to pursue bold plans for pathways that will put kids on a course for success after high school and beyond." "We must address the youth career crisis, and it starts in our schools," said Chauncy Lennon, head of workforce initiatives at JPMorgan Chase. This grant opportunity builds on the Council of Chief State School Officers' Career Readiness Initiative, which was launched in 2015 to help close the skills gap nationally. The goal is to ensure that all children graduate from high school college-ready and prepared for careers. The Council of Chief State School Officers' work has been guided by the recommendations made in Opportunities and Options, a report by the organization's Career Readiness Task Force. The Baker-Polito Administration has already announced a series of new initiatives to support career vocational technical education, including $83.5 million to significantly expand access to high quality career education programs aligned with workforce needs. In addition, the Administration announced in February the recipients of $9.3 million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants for vocational-technical equipment investments to improve the quality of education and vocational training and to increase capacity so that more students can participate. ###

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

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