Cheyney University to develop #Prepared4PA workforce pilot in next round of Systemwide workforce alignment grants​

Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has announced its latest partnership involving a State System university, the private sector, and workforce agencies as part of its strategy to support the creation of innovative credentialing programs that help Pennsylvanians advance in their careers.  

In the latest round of approved pilot programs, Cheyney University will partner with PSECU, AT&T and others to launch its Workforce Enhancement Network in Cybersecurity. The program will work to help reduce—and ultimately eliminate—disparity in representation in cybersecurity while addressing the needs of this emerging field. 

The Cheyney program will include mentorship and training programs that support professional development and career advancement efforts designed to elevate diversity in the cybersecurity sector. The partnership between Cheyney University, nonprofit organizations, and private employers focuses on developing educational and career pathways to provide a more diverse, capable, and fully trained cybersecurity workforce for the region.

“The communities and regions we serve need creative, workforce-aligned programming like that being produced through the #Prepared4PA program,” State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “Cheyney and its partners are proving that we can continue providing students with a high-quality, traditional residential experience while simultaneously building new pathways and experiences that are responsive to workforce demands and the changing needs of students.” 

Funding for this pilot program comes from the latest round of #Prepared4PA grants that encourage creative partnerships to expand workforce credentialing efforts across the System. The first two grant-funded pilots were announced earlier this year at Shippensburg and Millersville universities.

With two rounds of pilot development complete, the State System Foundation will be launching a third round in January when a new RFP will be issued soliciting proposals for innovative workforce credential programs.

Initial funding was provided by major national donors including the Lumina Foundation and Strada Education Network. Ongoing funding to support the tuition costs of students who benefit from the efforts will come from Team PA as well as employers, government grants and philanthropy. The State System Foundation serves as a strategic thought partner and administrator for the initiative.

“The time is now for higher education, a key driver of local economies in the commonwealth, to be innovative in creating short-term diverse, equitable and inclusive credentialing opportunities for individuals in Pennsylvania,” said Cynthia Pritchard, CEO of the State System Foundation. “This second round of pilots accomplishes those aims, and we look forward to the third round of program development that will begin in January.”
The #Prepared4PA program grew out of a two-day summit in November 2019 between the State System and major employers across Pennsylvania. This resulted in the creation of workforce assemblies in four regions of the Commonwealth, which examined the competencies leading industries need among the workforce and how higher education can develop high-quality, inclusive credentials to meet demand.

“The State System’s vision for the future of public higher education is directly reflected in the kind of innovation we are seeing through #Prepared4PA program pilots at Cheyney and elsewhere across our System,” said Cindy Shapira, chair of the State System’s Board of Governors. “We are delivering on our mission in new and creative ways to ensure our students have access to cutting-edge programs and by partnering with communities and employers in ways that will allow us to continue being the driver of economic development and social mobility that has been a hallmark of our history.”

For more information on #Prepared4PA, please visit its website at Prepared4PA.org.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating nearly 90,000 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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