This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, November 8, 2018
What are our Adams County school districts doing to prepare today’s children for the future workforce?
I recently attended an Adams County Council of Governments meeting, where our area school superintendents answered this very question. Not only do I want to share their answers, but at the end of this column, I’ll provide some additional resources available through Adams Economic Alliance!
We are thrilled that workforce development is becoming increasingly vital to not only our work in economic development, but to legislators and elected officials, schools, businesses and the community including parents. Kudos to all involved in fostering conversations, partnerships and these community-wide efforts:
- The Bermudian Springs School District is in the midst of developing the “Profile of a Graduate.” This initiative will dovetail with a certificate that students can earn while in high school that demonstrates they have achieved certain skills. This certificate will give students a “leg-up” when they transition into the workforce or post-high school education.
- The Conewago Valley School District is breaking ground on a 25,000-square foot expansion project, to create a “manufacturing simulator.” This will provide students with the opportunity to produce and manufacture actual products for real life experience and profits!
- Adams County Tech Prep, located adjacent to the Gettysburg Area High School, welcomes students from five Adams County school districts—Bermudian Springs, Fairfield, Gettysburg, Littlestown and New Oxford—during regular school hours. Students attend classes in seven program areas—Allied Health, Building Trades, Computer Networking, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, Early Learning and Law Enforcement.
- Students at Upper Adams School District interested in trade programs attend Cumberland Perry Vocational Technical School, Mechanicsburg, where 20 programs are offered.
- Beginning January 2019, students at Littlestown Area School District who wish to enter a trade program can attend the Carroll County Career & Technology Center located in Westminster, Maryland.
- All sophomores at Gettysburg Area School District are required to take “Career & Work,” a career exploration class.
Regionally, our partner organization, South Central PA Works (SCPa Works), operates six PA CareerLink sites that serve tens of thousands of area residents; the organization also invests nearly $14 million annually on employment and training programs for youth and adults. Learn more at www.scpaworks.org.
There is a bigger conversation about this very topic, taking place statewide. Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that $2.5 million is available for Teacher in the Workplace grants, to help school districts partner with local businesses and create new career opportunities for students. We would love to see Adams County applicants! The application deadline is December 21; eligible applicants include local education entities, businesses and chambers of commerce, labor organizations, postsecondary institutions, community-based organizations, public libraries, trade associations and economic development entities. See www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Workforce-Development/grants/ for details.
Pennsylvania has also relaunched its apprenticeship program, with more information on dced.pa.gov and dli.pa.gov.
Please call us with any questions about these vital community programs and relationships. As always, our services are free and available to the public; we are here to help Adams County thrive.