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College & Career

Work force programs aim students at high demand jobs

| Thursday, May 10, 2018, 11:33 a.m.
Jack Webster, a seventh-grader from Montour Middle School, uses a torch to cut a steel rod Wednesday, June 24, 2015, during the Parkway West Career and Technology Center's summer camp program, which tries to help youths get early exposure to and training in fields such as construction technology and welding.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Jack Webster, a seventh-grader from Montour Middle School, uses a torch to cut a steel rod Wednesday, June 24, 2015, during the Parkway West Career and Technology Center's summer camp program, which tries to help youths get early exposure to and training in fields such as construction technology and welding.

Faced with a rapidly graying workforce and a shortage of well-trained workers in high-demand fields, state officials Thursday awarded $2 million in Business Education Partnership grants to 18 projects, including three local efforts, designed to point k-12 students toward future job opportunities.

“These funds will strengthen the ties between the classroom and the workplace, allowing students to explore potential careers and learn about the job skills needed to succeed in today's workforce. A global 21st-century economy demands a technically skilled, well-prepared workforce and my administration is committed to helping our young people start out on the right foot to put them on a path to success,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a prepared statement touting the awards.

The Business Education Partnerships connect schools and employers with the goal of securing student internships, workplace shadowing, and career mentoring opportunities that illustrate the technical skills that employers require.

Grants for local agencies and projects included:

• $109,268 to the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Development Board to support the development of a Work and Learn Model Continuum to heighten career awareness and prepare high school students for career and post-secondary education through work-based learning opportunities.

• $85,700 to the Three Rivers Workforce Development Board to augment partnerships between businesses, schools and community partners to heighten career awareness and provide an alternative to the college-for-all mentality and a talent pipeline into entry-level career track jobs at local businesses, including PNC Bank, FedEx and UPMC.

• $179,662 to the Tri County Workforce Development Board to heighten career awareness and create partnerships to connect schools, employers, parents and students to career related experiences and opportunities in Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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