Program seeks to develop relevant academic programming for Pennsylvania's workforce
HARRISBURG, Pa. – To improve alignment of academic programming with employer needs, Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is hosting this month a series of forums around Pennsylvania where executives representing key industries can meet with academic and community leaders.
The virtual forums, focused on four regions of the Commonwealth, are aimed at learning best practices and forming partnerships to improve access to educational opportunities and meaningful careers for Pennsylvanians. The benefits of this effort are meant to bolster higher education statewide, including public, private, community, and vocational institutions.
The forums, called Workforce Assemblies, are made possible by a collaboration with Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Foundation.
“These assemblies enable us to work closely with employers to ensure the credentials and degrees we're offering align with the state's workforce needs," State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “That is a critically important component of public higher education, to offer pathways to career-relevant, quality and affordable degree and non-degree, credentialing programs."
The Workforce Assemblies are a continuation of an effort started in November 2019, when the State System hosted a two-day summit with 80 chief executives and human resource officers from across the state.
The State System then received funding from the Lumina Foundation and the Strada Education Network to build regional competency maps which highlight education and career pathways in high-priority occupations. Those occupations align in six high-demand industries: advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, finance and business services, healthcare, and information technology.
After this month's forums, the State System will compile information about the competencies and skillsets required by employers in these high-demand areas and invite universities and community colleges, by September 2021, to propose existing or implement new stackable credentials that align with them.
“A cornerstone of our ongoing reform efforts at the State System is student success, which is why these Workforce Assemblies are an exciting chapter as we redesign the System," Board of Governors Chair Cindy Shapira said. “We're collaborating with employers in Pennsylvania and building strategic partnerships, all to better align our programming so graduates are prepared to enter today's workforce."
The virtual Workforce Assemblies are scheduled for:
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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.