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Prince George’s County Receives $7 million Youth CareerConnect Grant from President Obama

April 7, 2014 | Bladensburg, MD – Today, Prince George’s County received a $7 million grant from the United States Department of Labor and the  Department of Education through the Youth CareerConnect program.  The County was one of 24 recipients from around the country to receive funding from the $107 million grant program, designed for high schools and their partners to develop innovative and creative programs that will help prepare students for success in post-secondary education and in a highly competitive global workforce. 

President Obama made the announcement at Bladensburg High School, which is one of three high schools in Prince George’s County where the program will be offered.  Approximately 2,500 high school students at Bladensburg High School, Fairmont Heights High School, and Potomac High School will obtain the skills, knowledge, and dispositions over the next 54 months to successfully embark on college educations and/or receive industry recognized certifications in IT and healthcare, making them college and career ready. 

“On behalf of the nearly 900,000 citizens and residents of Prince George’s County, I would like to thank President Obama and his Administration for supporting this County with a $7 million grant that will enhance our ability to prepare our young people for careers in information technology and healthcare,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.  “This grant is an excellent opportunity for the talented teachers and students of the Prince George’s County Public Schools and I congratulate all the partners involved for this unprecedented level of collaboration with my administration, which ultimately led to a very thorough and successful proposal.”

This grant will be facilitated through a partnership between the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Prince George’s Community College, Bowie State University, ASHLIN Urban Institute, Hillside Work Scholarship Connection, Latin American Youth Center, Lockheed Martin and Dimensions Healthcare System.  This was President Obama’s fifth visit to Prince George’s County since last October and his second visit to a Prince George’s County Public School this year. 

The three high schools chosen are located within County Executive Baker’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI), which was used as the foundation for this grant application.  This innovative initiative is improving the quality of life in some of the County’s most challenged communities.  Early success in these TNI communities is creating a sense of energy that has spurred groups throughout Prince George’s County to collaborate in ways they have not in the past.

“Our TNI efforts to date have resulted in a strong foundation for community engagement and partnership.  This grant will help us firm it up so that it is sustainable for many years to come,” said Baker. “It is clear that the Obama Administration is focused on creating Opportunity for All, and it is incredibly gratifying to know that the strategies we are using with TNI make a real difference in people’s lives.  We anticipate this funding will be a resource to help thousands of young people realize their dreams, expand their horizons and prepare them for a better and brighter future.”

The Youth CareerConnect grant program is designed to encourage America's school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment system, and their partners to scale up evidence-based high school models that will transform the high school experience for America's youth. Youth CareerConnect schools will strengthen America's talent pipeline through:

  • Integrated Academic and Career-Focused Learning: Grants will provide students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum to increase students' employability in in-demand industries and prepare them for employment, post-secondary education, long-term occupational skills training, or registered apprenticeships.
  • Work-Based Learning and Exposure to the World of Work: Strong partnerships will provide work-based learning opportunities. In addition to actual work experience, youth participants will also participate in field trips, job-shadowing, or other types of opportunities that provide students with exposure to different career paths and prepare them for the world of work.
  • Robust Employer Engagement: Employer partners will provide work-based learning and mentoring, creating a path for students to in-demand industries and occupations including those in information technologies, advanced manufacturing and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Employers will also work closely with schools on professional development and training for staff to drive the sustainability of the program over the long term.
  • Individualized Career and Academic Counseling: As an integral part of the program design, students will be provided with individualized career and academic counseling experiences to strengthen their career and post-secondary awareness and explore opportunities beyond high school.
  • Integration of Post-secondary Education and Training: Students will participate in education and training, while they are still in high school that leads to credit toward a post-secondary degree or certificate and an industry recognized credential, where appropriate.

To watch video of the President’s speech and announcement, please click here.  To read The White House Fact Sheet about the Youth CareerConnect grants please click here.  To read the White House blog post about the President’s visit to Bladensburg High School, please click here.