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In conducting business retention and expansion interviews, Greater Reading Economic Partnership (GREP) was able to key in on some specific needs for existing Greater Reading companies. In 2009 and 2010, out of 96 company interviews, 47% identified lack of skills and more specifically, 26% identified lack of technical skills as a current workforce challenge.
As the lead economic development organization for the Greater Reading community, GREP initiated a career and technology school campaign; “Careers in 2 Years.” GREP developed the Careers in 2 Years initiative based upon the knowledge that a readily available skilled workforce is an incredible economic development driver in terms of retaining and growing existing Greater Reading companies and attracting new ones.
This campaign targets middle and high school aged students and their parents to consider career and technology school as a viable option for their future. They can work towards a well-paying, highly employable career in approximately two years. The campaign focuses on careers in welding, mechatronics, carpentry, robotics, machining, CAD and drafting. Phase two of the campaign will focus on business management, IT and healthcare training.