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​Summit begins a partnership to prepare students for high-demand jobs

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Executives and thought leaders from Pennsylvania's major industries began a partnership this week with Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education aimed at better understanding the state's workforce needs to improve system academic programming.

The partnership grew out of the multi-day Pennsylvania Prepares Summit, hosted by the State System at the Dixon University Center.

“This week's summit renews a process of meaningful engagement with employers across the Commonwealth," State System Chief Transformation Officer Sarah Bauder said. “Employers depend on a workforce prepared with the right skills, and we as leaders in public higher education need to know what those high-demands skills are. And students are counting on our universities to deliver a valuable education that sets them on a rewarding career path."

Much of the summit concentrated on how future employees will be lifelong learners, continuing their professional development through a variety of affordable, short-term learning platforms such as certificates and credentialing programs.

Among the employment sectors represented at the summit are finance, advanced manufacturing, health care, energy, engineering, and agri-business. The summit began Wednesday and is scheduled to conclude Friday with competency mapping exercises aimed at bridging employer demands with academic supply at the State System so graduates enter the workforce better prepared.

“Students pursue higher education because degrees lead to jobs and jobs mean security in their lives," Dave Clayton, Strada Education Network Senior Vice President for Consumer Insights and a summit presenter, said. “By better aligning academic programming with employer needs, public higher education can build employer confidence in workforce development, and graduates will be able to see the true value of their degree, not just the cost."

These efforts at exploring improved workforce development with State System universities will continue with regional meetings in 2020.

“This summit is the kind of partnership Pennsylvania needs to build job growth momentum in the Commonwealth," Allison Jones, Gov. Tom Wolf's deputy secretary of policy and planning and a summit speaker, said. “Bringing prominent voices together from public and private sectors with leaders in public higher education will mean students can be confident their education prepares them for high-demand careers."

For more about what the State System is doing to prepare students for rewarding careers, please search #Prepared4PA.

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 95,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.​
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