Toledo Public Schools was awarded nearly $4 million by the Obama Administration as part of a national program to make students career-ready through rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum.
Toledo’s $3,824,281 award was part of a competitive, $107 million program that President Obama was to announce today in Maryland.
Romules Durant, Toledo Public Schools superintendent, said the programs will be incorporated into the Toledo Technology Academy, along with Bowsher, Start, Waite, and Woodward high schools.
“These schools already have the programs that are related to the grant,” Mr. Durant said from Los Angeles, where he is participating in a program sponsored by CEOs for Cities, a nonprofit network for urban leaders to exchange and share ideas.
RELATED CONTENT: Fact Sheet: Youth Career Connect
Approximately 125 to 150 total students in those schools have been identified as potential candidates, he said.
Toledo was the only Ohio recipient among 24 school districts, job-training programs, and state departments of education.
The Youth CareerConnect grants will encourage schools, education agencies, and job training programs to “integrate rigorous educational standards with work experiences and skills ...”
The White House said Youth CareerConnect will help students move into high-demand jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Employers will provide training, job-shadowing, and mentoring to ensure that what students learn is relevant to the job market.
Mr. Durant said the 54-month program, which TPS will call Pathway to Prosperity, should be ready by the start of school in the fall.
“We’ll go immediately into recruitment and identification of the students,” he said.
TPS will begin identifying eighth-grade students to enter the program.
Owens Community College and the University of Toledo will be involved in showing students their options for attending two year or four-year programs related to their interests, he said.
With the grant, Toledo will be able to offer more assistance for students with special needs, transportation, and other support services, Mr. Durant said.
The money would be used to purchase technologically advanced equipment that students will use, as well as to expand guidance programs that are integral to Youth CareerConnect, Mr. Durant said.
TPS worked with the Toledo Community Foundation, which alerted the school to the grant opportunity, and turned around the application within 30 days, Mr. Durant said.
Some of the companies that have committed to working with TPS, particularly with internships or entry-level positions, include Xunlight Corp., First Solar Inc., General Motors Co., Dana Holding Corp., Ohio Belt Transmission, and Radco Industries Inc., Mr. Durant said.
The Toledo Technology Academy, 3301 Upton Ave., has nearly three dozen business partners it works with to provide its students with career-oriented training, Mr. Durant said.
“We want to broaden that perspective,” he said. “It just made good sense to leverage with them.”
By focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math, the national program would help students enter high-demand jobs such as information technology, health-care fields, and manufacturing.
Grant recipients will be asked to make sure girls and minorities also are recruited into the program.
Youth CareerConnect is different from President Obama’s Race to the Top program, which is geared toward improving low-performing schools. TPS received nearly $11 million from Race to the Top.
In his appearance today at Bladensburg High School, the President planned to highlight three high schools in Prince George’s County that incorporate career academies that are aligned with Maryland’s state university system.
Students there have access to individualized career and college counseling that prepares them for college-level course work.
The highest grants, $7 million, were awarded to school districts in Los Angeles, Denver, Indianapolis, New York City, and Clinton, S.C.
The Maryland grant was awarded to Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp.
The smallest award, $2.2 million, went to Anson County Schools in Wadesboro, N.C.
The program will be run by the U.S. Labor and Education departments.
“Too few of America’s students are meaningfully engaged by their academic experience while in high school, and many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their studies in school to future college and career pathways, especially in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” the White House said in its statement.
“President Obama has called for a comprehensive effort to rethink the high school experience for America’s youth, challenging schools to scale up innovative models that personalize teaching and learning so that students stay on track to graduate with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in college and in successful careers,” the statement said.
Contact: Jim Sielicki at: Jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.