Today I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share our story. A story that is based on public and private partnerships that include workforce, education and a developing partnership that includes the private sector a partnership between CareerLinking Academy, LCCC, and Monster.com. I ‘ll describe the Lehigh Valley, CareerLinking Academies and finish up with how Monster became part of CareerLinking Academies.
To begin, let’s understand the Lehigh Valley – As a workforce, we are date driven so everyday we need to teach our youth and our community this same message. The Lehigh Valley is located in the state of PA and about 1 ½ hours north of Philadelphia. It consists of Lehigh and Northampton counties is comprised of the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Notice that only 14 of our employers have 1000 or more employees. 95% of our employers are relatively small they employ less than 200 people. We know our employer base yet this is not what our community thinks. We beg to differ with Billy Joel and yes we may be living here in Allentown, however after thirty years we are not closing our factories down, we have just made them look different. Our population has not yet come to understand how different our employers and workforce are since Billy Joel made us famous nearly 30 years ago. Change is difficult for anyone to overcome, having a community understand changes in workforce and employers is extremely difficult to communicate.
The story goes that in 2006, one of our more rural high schools, Northern Lehigh School District contacted, executive director, Nancy Dischinat here at the LV Workforce Investment Board and stated that their kids did not know what to be and could the WIB help. So Nancy contacted her friends with the Lehigh Valley Society for Human Resource Managers and said, if you had the opportunity to talk to youth about what you look for in the workforce, what would you want them to know. It was really simple, Career Awareness and Career Acquisition. What are the jobs in the Lehigh Valley? Where are the jobs? What do those jobs pay? What skills or education do you need to get those jobs? How do you get a job? Then we needed to make that message interesting for youth. And so in June of 2006, the partnership between the WIB and SHRM took 56 students from Northern Lehigh High School shared with them local Job and Labor market information, toured them through local employers, and post secondary education facilities and taught them about applications, resumes and interviewing in short they answered the above questions. This was all done after the school year was over, these 56 juniors gave up one week of their summer vacation to learn what it is Lehigh Valley Employers are looking for from their workforce.
Well sharing that information with those 56 students in Northern Lehigh solved the original request but we have a lot more youth in the Lehigh Valley than those original 56. So we really needed to get the message out to more youth. In PA, we have something called PA Academic Standards for Career Education and Work and the CareerLinking Acdemy model is aligned to those required education standards. Then we went after Statewide Activity dollars and provided school districts money to conduct their own CareerLinking Academy. So now more students can benefit from the knowledge gained through CareerLinking Academies. Since this is a model, it can be customized to growth industries and disciplines. Some still follow the original model and conduct the academies during the summer. Some say this is good stuff, let’s make it part of our curriculum. CareerLinking Academy has focused on STEM , we’ve seen it go green and we continue to explore new ways of conducting CareerLinking Academies and after one of our health care industry partnership employers said can you do one of those Academies on my worksite as an H/R recruitment for youth, we came to understand this was not only for school districts.
. Now, we have opened the RFP process to include not only school districts, but CBOs, businesses and post secondary education. Which is how the partnership between LCCC and Monster.com came to be. And pilot this public partnership for CareerLinking Acadmies One of our local community colleges, Lehigh Carbon Community College, responded to an RFP and their proposal included a partnership with Monster to provide a CareerLinking Academy to students within the Allentown School district. Allentown School District is the largest school district in our area third largest school district in PA with drop out rates greater than the state average. Serving nearly 18,000 students more than three quarters who are low income and a majority who are Hispanic make it even more important for them to explore careers It is hard to get the attention of these youth, but a partnership with Monster, Inc. was LCCC’s way in. We were able to leverage Monster.com’s market visibility to expand our program We wanted to be able to grow the program, take it to another level, and find a way for as many people as possible to gain career awareness and acquisition skills.
So our IWB board and Youth council agreed to fund this new partnership closely, these students met for two days a week after school for 12 weeks. I repeat these students met two days a week after school. Day one of the week provided the career awareness with guest speakers, company tours and career acquisition skills and introduced the students to our targeted industry clusters. Day two utilized the Monster.com’s “I Could be” e mentoring program. The program began with Monster.com recruiting students into the program through an assembly. Monster came to Allentown and motivated the students to change their lives. They told the students we could only accept a limited number into the program and so if the were genuinely interested, they needed to sign up immediately. We planned to accept 15 students from each school. The program exceeded planned enrollment by 15%. Students spent twelve weeks learning about themselves, careers and getting career advice from their I could be E mentor. Students and parents also benefited from a Monster celebration on site at LCCC which included a college tour and a motivational presentation Making your future count and helping the youth to learn more about themselves and SMART goals .
Finally, let’s talk about outcomes. When asked “ Would you recommend this program to other students in 10 th Grade 100% of the students said yes. When asked what did you enjoy most? Students replied food, field trips and learning how to network. Let’s talk retention – one of the high schools was able to boast a 92% retention rate keep in mind this was over twelve weeks , after school and measurably higher than the districts’ transition rate. The students were able to use the program as a graduation project. Two of students who went above and beyond what was necessary in the program, presented at the PA Partners state conference in Hershey PA. These students used the skills they gained during the academy to share with workforce professionals the knowledge they gained and the experiences they shared , empowering them to use the new tools , skills and contacts the gained to plan their career. Typical CareerLinking Academy is 35 hours – this program was 60 hours and students recommended the program be longer. In addition, when asked if the students could change anything about the CareerLinking Academy program the response was to extend the program into their junior year. Overall 100 % of students would recommend the program to another student in the 10 th grade. These students want to continue to develop themselves and their companies.
In 2006 when one small school district asked the WIB to help their students and faculty with career awareness our workforce system went into action. We gathered the data, high priority occupations, targeted industry clusters, business and industry professionals, workforce and economic development partners and developed a career awareness strategy for education….never thinking it would turn into a public private partnership called Monster! .
Nawb Monster Careerlinking Academy 6 8 11
Cindy Evans Workforce Coordinator Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. [email_address] 610-841-1004 NAWB MONSTER WEBINAR, JUNE 8, 2011
30 Million Population Within 100 Miles 1 Day Drive to Reach 1/3 of U.S. and 1/2 of Canadian Consumers 11 Institutions of Higher Learning/more than 50,000 Students 2 Community Colleges 17 School Districts 3 Career and Technical Schools 643,000 Population 332,000 Workforce 300,000 Employed 268,000 Jobs 15,000 Companies 33,000 Commuters 79% of population has high school, AA, BA, Graduate Degree $56,711 Median Household Income The Changing Economy - Landscape NAWB MONSTER WEBINAR, JUNE 8, 2011 Employment Range # of Employers 1,000+ Employees 14 100-500 352 10-50 3,700 5-9 2,870 Less than 5 8,264
… a partnership between and and Career awareness activities and interest Assessments [PA Academic Standards 13.1.11 A-F] Interviewing skills and preparation of Resumes, cover letters, briefs, job applications [PA Academic Standards 13.2.11 A-E] Interviews and workshops with human resource managers to discuss skills, interests, employer needs and expectations; soft skills exercises and more [PA Academic Standards 13.2.11 A-E and 13.3.11 A-G] Employer Tours [PA Academic Standards 13.3.11A] Career and Technical School, and Community College [PA Academic Standards 13.3.11 B] Day One Day Two Day Three Day Four Day Five NAWB MONSTER WEBINAR, JUNE 8, 2011
CareerLinking Academy Request for Proposal NAWB MONSTER WEBINAR, JUNE 8, 2011