Delawareans and all Americans face a changing global economy, one where employers can increasingly move anywhere in the world to find talent and, because of technology, they produce more with fewer employees. The most effective thing that our state can do to increase opportunity and prosperity is to ensure everyone has the skills to compete for good jobs. That requires bringing together our K-12 schools, our colleges and universities, and our business community to create a pipeline for success.
It’s the reason I was so excited about our announcement at A.I. du Pont High School this past week, when we awarded nearly half a million dollars in grants to 16 high schools to expand our Pathways to Prosperity initiative. The program provides hands-on training to students in growing fields like manufacturing, information technology, finance, and healthcare, with support from higher education institutions like Delaware Tech. Pathways works because it involves the employers who know the job market better than anybody. They help design curriculum and provide hundreds of internship opportunities over the summer. We have enhanced that relationship with additional support, including private funding from Bank of America and the Delaware Business Roundtable. Our funding partners recognize that they are not doing this out of charity, but out of necessity for the state’s future workforce. Students graduate with industry recognized certificates and college credits. In just two years we’ve increased enrollment in the program from about 30 to nearly 6,000 students from 38 high schools. With our latest round of grants, we are creating three new pathways for next year – in environmental science, nursing, and teacher preparation, while expanding current pathways.
By continuing to expand this program so every student has the chance to participate, we’ll create more opportunities for them; we’ll support economic growth, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.
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