“We are in a unique situation to transform a rust belt city into a brain belt one.”Fred Brown, President and CEO of The Forbes Funds
The Forbes Funds was joined by special guests, Dr. Anthony Hamlet of Pittsburg Public Schools, Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith of Pittsburgh Technical College, and Dr. Quintin Bullock of Community College of Allegheny County. Together, they spoke about different educational programs and initiatives that open new career opportunities and planning for the students of Allegheny County and the greater Southwest region of Pennsylvania. A recording of this call can be accessed at this link.
Transforming the Public Education Infrastructure
Dr. Anthony Hamlet opened his talk with the need to equip students of Pittsburgh public schools (PPS) with the right set of skills and dispositions necessary to flourish in their personal and professional lives. Hence, it is necessary to reimagine the school and the graduate as part of that project. PPS has formulated a new graduate profile to ensure that students are future-ready and have the designated skills, experiences, and competencies necessary to be successful.
The economic future of Pittsburgh depends on having a well-educated and skilled workforce that is prepared to meet the projected economic challenges of the 21st-century global economy. Hence, PPS has endeavored to ensure that all Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates have access to high-quality academic and technical education and a platform to explore their interests and potential careers. This can be measured with the Career Readiness Indicator, which measures, for example, a student’s knowledge of entrepreneurship to better assist them in planning their future.
With that in mind, PPS has placed emphasis to help students be aware of and make informed choices regarding career and technical education (CTE) as a viable alternative to a more traditional academic program.
The following speaker was Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith, who discussed the importance of strategic partnerships to advance education and workforce development for 21st-century careers and the role of Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC). According to Dr. Alicia, PTC offers a workforce development model that cultivates academic rigor with career readiness. The PTC places great importance on applied learning. For example, students interested in design & engineering have access to a CAD lab, or those in hospitality can utilize specialized travel software. More importantly, students regularly meet with career services staff who help them with networking, recruiting, and mock interviewing.
PTC also works with a host of national and local partnerships to ensure students upon graduation gain employment. These organizations include:
- the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers (PennAce)
- Western Pennsylvania Career Services Association (WestPACS)
- National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
Finally, Dr. Alicia noted that PTC had created the Pittsburgh Technical Corporate College, geared for professional training & development and online industry certification. Individuals now have new opportunities for upskilling. Moreover, the new venture cements the partnership between PTC and regional employers as the educator of choice.
The final guest was Dr. Quintin Bullock, who spoke about the Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC) role in advancing education and workforce training in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Dr. Bollock spoke about the community orientation of CCAC, strategically located in different communities to meet their needs and the needs of the business community. Hence, the CCAC is heavily invested in providing hands-on education (i.e., apprenticeships and internships) in various in-demand fields such as nursing, IT, and commercial driving licensing (CDL).
Collectively, the speakers envisioned a new educational landscape. Here, innovative educational institutions in partnership with businesses create a sustainable pipeline for future-ready students to enter the workforce and obtain well-paying jobs in high-demand and high-growth economic sectors.
GPNP Policy Updates with Emily Francis
GPNP Advocacy Update
Emily Francis says now is the time to reach out to your legislator and share with them stories about the impact of Covid-19 on your respective organizations and communities. Here is the link to the collaborative toolkit.
PA Policy News: Drugs and Alcohol
The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has worked with, Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting addiction to create ATLAS or Addiction, Treatment, Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform. The platform helps individuals navigate the drug & alcohol treatment landscape to find high-quality care for themselves or their loved ones.
The DDAP has allocated 7 million dollars in the form of grants to support pregnant and postpartum substance use disorder. For more information on the grant, please follow this link.
44.9 million dollars has been allocated to PA Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Program (PHARE) to fund 223 initiatives in all 67 counties. The administration of the program is on the county level. The program is expected to impact more than 3,300 PA house households with rent/utility assistance, blight remediation and rental rehabilitation.
Pennsylvania has transitioned to a new system of unemployment compensation claims. Compensation claims can be filed online or by phone with users expressing frustration with the new system. For more information, please follow this link.
The PA unemployment rate on April is 7.4%.
The PA legislature voted to immediately end Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus disaster emergency declaration. However, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to extend components of the declaration including family caregiver support eligibility standards.
LIVE PA has partnered with United Way of PA to offer 4 million dollars in the form of mini-grants. This is to increase equitable and effective vaccine distribution. This is a product of the Racial Equity Subcommittee of the Covid-19 Task Force. They will pilot the program in areas with the highest levels of health disparity, including Pittsburg. For more information, please follow this link.
Racial disparities remain with COVID-19 vaccination rates between white and African-American population groups.
Black Equity Coalition
Alissa Monette of the Black Equity Coalition (BEC) invited viewers to attend a panel discussion on COVID-19 & vaccinations for Tuesday, 15 June at 1 pm. For more information, please follow this link.
Olivia Benson announced that ACCEL Fundamentals and Advanced ACCEL applications are open with a 1 July deadline. Nonprofits interested in boosting their marketing & communication skills and creating better fundraising plans should take these courses. For more information about signing up, please follow this link.