The New Skills For Youth Initiative, Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

This year, a multi-disciplinary team of organizations created a new initiative which aims to create opportunities for economic success for those without high school degrees, and those who have graduated but do not have sufficient skills to begin a meaningful career. The New Skills For Youth (NSFY) program was created by the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium and Education Strategy Group, and is funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The initiative includes two phases.  Phase 1, decided in April 2016, awarded a group of 25 states with a $100,000 grant to perform a diagnostic assessment of their career-preparation system and to prepare for implementation of a new action plan. In the fall, approximately 10 of these 25 states will be selected for Phase 2, which is an additional grant to fund a three-year implementation phase. (The Phase 2 grant awards will be decided in early November, 2016 and are awarded in the amount of up to $650,000 per year.)

All of us at XAP are gratified to see so much attention and resources directed at the critical gaps in education, opportunity and training for successful career pathways. For nearly 30 years, XAP has been dedicated to supporting state- and local-level sponsors and school systems with education and career-guidance software that enables exploration of courses of study, educational institutions and career planning.  In fact, XAP has built systems for several of the NSFY Phase 1 grant award recipients. We are proud to count many of these states as our clients and colleagues in the field of expanding career opportunities for all.

The NSFY intends to transform career preparation nationwide, starting with the states awarded Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants. Each state is charged with transforming the way they design their career-focused programs (including career technical education, or CTE), ensuring that their program is driven by employer demand, and is accountable and rigorous.  Starting with the NSFY cohort of states, the plan aims to greatly increase the number of students who successfully complete career pathways, and share the lessons and best practices of the programs to other states, including those that do not participate in the NSFY.

The states awarded a grant in Phase 1 of the NSFY include: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

XAP wishes all Phase 1 recipients well as they prepare their action plans. We appreciate your work and the vision of the New Skills for Youth Initiative.

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