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Students to be Trained for 'In-Demand' Jobs

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(WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2014) — Two new initiatives were announced aimed at better training students for "in-demand jobs of the future" at both the high school and college levels.

Twenty-four awards totaling more than $100 million to schools and partner institutions throughout the country to redesign high schools and prepare students for either college or registered apprenticeships (view a full list of recipients here). The so-called Youth CareerConnect grants provide funds for school districts to create career academies and early college high schools that focus on high-demand industries such as health care, technology and engineering.

With a $7 million grant, the Los Angeles Unified School District will build career academies in six high schools that will focus on health care, biotechnologies and other related fields. Likewise, a $7 million grant to the New York City Department of Education will fund the creation of two new early college high schools that allow students to earn associate degrees while still in high school. Grants also were awarded to local education agencies in Denver, Indianapolis and Clinton, S.C., as well as to the nonprofit Jobs for the Future in Massachusetts.

A new apprenticeship consortium comprised of community colleges, businesses, labor unions and industry organizations was announced as well. Through the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, which is administered by the departments of Labor and Education, students will be able to earn college credit while being paid to learn a trade.

The program will target "in-demand" jobs in the health care, information technology and energy industries, among others.

he consortium is part of a broader job skills agenda. Currently, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs. Through the RACC, an individual's apprenticeship would be transferable as college credit. Electricians, for example, could earn up to 60 credits, the equivalent of about two full years of college.

If community colleges support apprenticeships and form partnerships with local businesses, the problem could start to ease. Still, there are just 375,000 people in registered apprenticeship programs nationwide today. Put another way, the country would need to increase that number by 2.5 million next year to be on the same per capita level as Great Britain, and by 7 million to be at the same per capita level as Germany.

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