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Career Readiness Initiative

Opportunities and Options: CCSSO’s Career Readiness Initiative

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NEW! CCSSO and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced $20 million in grants to 10 states to dramatically increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for careers through the New Skills for Youth initiative.

States Take the Lead on Career Readiness

To address the skills gap that exists in this country today, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has launched an ambitious new career readiness initiative. Through this initiative, CCSSO is supporting all states as they align K-12 career programming with the high-skill, high-demand needs of business and industry to better prepare students for success in postsecondary.

CCSSO's Career Readiness Initiative is rooted in the work of CCSSO's Career Readiness Task Force. The Initiative includes ongoing career readiness support to all states, and targeted technical assistance to a network of states committed to being early adopters of the Task Force recommendations.  This work is enhanced by the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity open to every state.

New Skills for Youth
To advance the Career Readiness Initiative, CCSSO is proud to partner with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on New Skills for Youth, a $75 million, five-year investment from JPMorgan Chase to increase the number of kids throughout the world who are prepared to compete for high-skill jobs.

As part of this overall initiative, JPMorgan Chase dedicated $33 million of grant funding for CCSSO to lead the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity for states, in partnership with Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group. New Skills for Youth has given every state the opportunity to apply for significant grants that will help turn their bold visions for improving career readiness in K-12 education into a reality.

Twenty-four states and Washington, D.C. secured grants through phase one of New Skills for Youth to perform a diagnostic assessment of their career preparation system and prepare for implementation of a new action plan. 

Ten states were awarded grants of $2 million over three years through phase two of New Skills for Youth to work with government, business and education leaders to strengthen career education and create pathways to economic success.

Learn more about the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity and review state resources on the New Skills for Youth website.

Background on CCSSO's Career Readiness Initiative

CCSSO's Career Readiness Initiative began in 2014 when Kentucky Commissioner Terry Holliday, then CCSSO's President, convened the Career Readiness Task Force. The Task Force published a report, outlining a set of far-reaching recommendations for states to take to improve career readiness. Forty-three states, D.C. and two territories signed on to these recommendations:

  1. Enlist the employer community as a lead partner to refocus and retool schools' career preparation efforts to ensure that they are responsive to the labor market and effectively prepare all students for the expectations of the 21st century workplace.
  2. Raise the bar for the quality of career preparation programs to ensure that all programs are embedded in pathways that are tightly aligned with the needs of the labor market and culminate in a meaningful postsecondary credential or an industry certification in a high-skill, high-demand field.
  3. Make career preparation matter to schools and students by incorporating career readiness indicators into accountability systems and incentivizing students to earn postsecondary or industry certification credentials in high-skill, high-demand fields.

CCSSO now is helping all states as they work to implement these recommendations by offering access to resources and top experts. In addition, 17 states joined CCSSO's Career Readiness network in September 2015 to receive more targeted coaching and support in creating bold plans for improving career readiness in K-12 schools.

Contact:Beth 202-312-6872