HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) today announced it has secured a $100,000 grant to develop a detailed career readiness action plan, which is an essential step to expanding economic opportunity for young people across our state.
“This grant will go a long way in building upon the various partnership projects that are focused on preparing our students for the workforce,”stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re seeing positive results throughout our high schools as students create their path towards college and careers. Partnerships and grants like this are essential in our efforts and we’re excited to expand on our collective initiatives to help students achieve their goals.”
Hawaii is among 24 states and the District of Columbia to receive a New Skills for Youth grant that includes expert technical assistance to perform a diagnostic assessment of their career preparation system and prepare for implementation of a new action plan. The grants are one piece of a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Advance CTE, 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.
The grant enables HIDOE to begin a rigorous needs assessment to determine program strengths and necessary improvements. With that baseline set, a new three-year career readiness action plan will be developed to set goals and targets toward providing students equitable access to career pathway opportunities, along with the identification and allocation of resources.
“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 CCSSO. “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.”
According to CCSSO, only about half of young 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.
“We must address the youth career crisis, and it starts in our schools,”said Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “These grants kick start an effort to ensure career and technical education systems are better aligned with the needs of business and leaders throughout states are committed to tackling youth employment.”
In 2015, Hawaii’s youth unemployment rate for ages 16 to 19 was 13 percent. For ages 20 to 24, the unemployment rate was 7 percent, compared to Hawaii’s overall rate of 3.7 percent for its entire labor force.
A growing number of Hawaii's public high school students are taking college-level courses and earning dual credits –for both high school and college –before they graduate from the 12th grade, according to a College and Career Readiness Report (CCRI), released by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education.
Hawaii, and the planning grant states, will be eligible to apply for a phase two grant opportunity, which will require states to demonstrate the commitment and capacity to execute the action plans developed in its first phase.
This grant opportunity builds on CCSSO's Career Readiness Initiative, launched in 2015 to help close the country’s skills gap. It is guided by recommendations made in Opportunities and Options, a report of CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force.