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Funding and Sustaining Pathway Innovations
New Skills for Youth state teams highlighted new funding sources, partnerships, staff positions, legislation, and statewide alignment as key to their plans for sustaining their work.
Secured New Funds for Career Readiness
At least four states increased state funding to support career pathways and career and technical education programs during New Skills for Youth; two other states expected increases in coming years. States also secured philanthropic and federal resources for pathways, such as state leadership funds from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, but they noted challenges in aligning state and federal funding requirements.
Expanded State Capacity
State teams highlighted the value of state-level partnerships for advancing pathway development, particularly those with state departments of labor and economic development. Six states created new staff positions to lead and coordinate pathways work.
Aligned Pathways with Other Initiatives and Legislation
States also supported pathway development through links to ongoing state and federal initiatives and legislation. Four states combined their pathways-related programs, such as those advancing STEM and postsecondary completion, under a single umbrella initiative. Each state legislature passed one or more pieces of pathways-related legislation, such as revised graduation requirements and statewide career advising programs.
Funding Sources for Sustaining Pathways
Leveraged Federal DollarsLouisiana obtained federal matching resources under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014 Pre-Employment Transitions Services program to help students with disabilities participate in career pathways.
Expanded State FundingThe 2020 state budget in Massachusetts included an additional $400,000 for the Connecting Activities work-based learning program; $500,000 for planning and implementation grants to expand existing and develop new career and technical education programs; and $700,000 for the development of high-quality early college programs.
Secured Private ResourcesIn 2018, Delaware received a 3-year $3.25 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to expand work-based learning.
Ignite Institute, Erlanger, Kentucky
Ignite Institute offers pathways in engineering, education, computer science, design, biomedical sciences, and pre-nursing. Students from eight high schools in three counties attend Ignite for full-day instruction five days per week. For three days of each week, students attend career and core academic classes; on the other two days, they work on year-long projects related to their career interests and pathway programs.
Combining Public and Private Resources
Boone County Public Schools and partners combined public and private resources to establish the Ignite Institute. Ignite opened in August 2019 after Toyota donated a laboratory facility and land to the district. A $6.8 million Work-Ready Skills grant from the Kentucky Department of Education and funds from Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance and area employers covered the costs of converting the facility for education.
Alignment with State Initiatives
District administrators received funds from the Kentucky Department of Education to designate the Institute as a regional career academy. State funding helped Ignite market itself to prospective students and enabled staff to visit other regional career academies throughout the state. Ignite also participated in an asset mapping process facilitated by the state education department to understand regional labor market needs.