SU partners with Syracuse City School District, businesses to implement work readiness program
SU partners with Syracuse City School District, businesses to implement work readiness programNovember 05, 2007SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s WorkKeys? Center and SU Gear Up will work collaboratively with the Syracuse City School District, CNY Works, Partners for Education & Business Inc., the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, the Metropolitan Development Assocation, Journey to Jobs and the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce to ensure that graduates of the Syracuse City School District are prepared for jobs by implementing the Work Ready career preparation model. The model will encompass career exploration, skill building, validation, work-based learning and credentialing in the form of the SU Certificate of Workplace Competency.
“According to the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education, only 68 out of every 100 ninth-graders who started school this year will graduate on time; of those, 40 will enroll directly in college; of those, only 27 will be enrolled the following year, and of those, only 18 will earn an associate degree in three years or a bachelor’s degree in six years,” says Tom Hadlick, executive director of the WorkKeys? Center, in explaining the statistics behind the initiative. “Eighty-two out of every 100 will not make it.”
According to Hadlick, government and community leaders and educators cannot afford to wait for long-term educational reform to take hold. “Our nation cannot sustain its current standard of living under those conditions, particularly in the face of fierce global competition for the best jobs and the best pay,” he says. “We need short-term solutions addressing the concerns of business and industry. The Partnership for a Work-Ready Syracuse has taken a major step forward to improve our community’s global competitiveness.”
In the spirit of SU’s Scholarship in Action vision, this partnership is creating a new way for the University to forge alliances with business and education to develop and implement innovative school reform methods in the SCSD. The strategy is also in alignment with what many studies are calling for — a redoubling of the efforts needed to overcome the myriad of barriers faced by students and the urban districts in which they are being taught. A recent John Hopkins report identified far too many school districts as “dropout factories.”
The partnership hit the ground running with the robust SU Gear Up grants (more than $13 million) already delivering career exploration and skill development to a cohort of 3,500 students in the district. These strategies are helping students make the connection between what they are studying and what they will need in the real world through exposure to contextual curriculum. The business leadership has endorsed this model as a direction for education reform in the Central New York region.
This new partnership is a result of last year’s Journey to Jobs Summit on workforce development in the region, which is facing a labor shortage and a shrinking population.
The WorkKeys? Center offers a complete spectrum of job analysis, skill assessment, instructional support and training services for employers, job seekers and students, revolving around the well-known WorkKeys? System developed by American College Testing (ACT). The center is housed at University College of Syracuse University. For more information, contact Tom Hadlick, executive director, or Andrea German-Willis, assistant director, at (315) 443-5241 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.