The Youth CareerConnect grant program is designed to encourage America's school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment system, and their partners to scale up evidence-based high school models that will transform the high school experience for America's youth. Youth CareerConnect schools will strengthen America's talent pipeline through:
- Integrated Academic and Career-Focused Learning: Grants will provide students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and career-focused curriculum to increase students' employability in in-demand industries and prepare them for employment, post-secondary education, long-term occupational skills training, or registered apprenticeships.
- Work-Based Learning and Exposure to the World of Work: Strong partnerships will provide work-based learning opportunities. In addition to actual work experience, youth participants will also participate in field trips, job-shadowing, or other types of opportunities that provide students with exposure to different career paths and prepare them for the world of work.
- Robust Employer Engagement: Employer partners will provide work-based learning and mentoring, creating a path for students to in-demand industries and occupations including those in information technologies, advanced manufacturing and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Employers will also work closely with schools on professional development and training for staff to drive the sustainability of the program over the long term.
- Individualized Career and Academic Counseling: As an integral part of the program design, students will be provided with individualized career and academic counseling experiences to strengthen their career and post-secondary awareness and explore opportunities beyond high school.
- Integration of Post-secondary Education and Training: Students will participate in education and training, while they are still in high school, that leads to credit toward a post-secondary degree or certificate and an industry recognized credential, where appropriate.
The Department of Labor will use up to $100 million in revenues from the H-1B visa program to fund approximately 25 to 40 grants for individual or multi-site projects. Grants will be awarded to local education agencies, public or non-profit local workforce entities, or non-profits with education reform experience. All grantees will have to demonstrate a strong public/private partnership, and must include, at a minimum, a local education agency, a local workforce investment system entity, an employer, and an institution of higher education. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to employers, foundations, and others in building their applications and leveraging the federal investment. At a minimum, applicants will also be required to provide a match of 25 percent of the grant award. Awards are anticipated to be made in early 2014 for program implementation to align with the 2014-15 school year.