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The Emerging Workforce Committee of the Workforce Alliance is the collective effort of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, CEO Council, regional K-12 public education districts, Illinois Central College, Industry partners, and Community-based organizations. This partnership is aimed toward supporting regional K – 12 schools in implementation of multiple college and career readiness strategies with an intentional focus on connecting local employers into career pathways, promoting financial literacy, and the award of valuable industry credentials. Through this work we will create a shared, regional career pathways framework that will create a new social compact between society and its young people.

This effort originally began with funding and technical support from the American Federation of Teacher’s Innovation Fund focused explicitly on Peoria Public Schools in 2015. After establishing critical partnerships, refining strategies, and the passing of the Post-secondary and Workforce Readiness Act in 2016, the work has now scaled to impact the entire Greater Peoria region. This work is focused on meeting new College and Career Readiness Expectations, through establishing a more coherent, shared framework to help improve student outcomes and narrow our workforce gaps.

The Goal

To increase the graduation rate for regional high schools and to assist schools in meeting college and career expectations, ultimately increasing the number of adults in our region with a post-secondary credential by 20% (from 40% to 60%), by the year 2025. 

Target Audiences

  • K-8 students with career exploration and exposure activities;
  • High school students with career experiences (internships, job shadows, etc.), college preparedness (offering more early college credit learning opportunities, transitional math/english, etc.), and financial literacy education; 
  • Parents with information on career pathways available to students, importance of post-secondary planning, and regionalized labor-market information to drive students’ career decision making.

Key Partners

Key Strategies

  • Leverage local, state, and national resources within the community to develop career pathways endorsements and for the students in all partner school districts in the areas of Health Sciences, Information Technologies, and Manufacturing by the AY 2020 school year.
  • Coordinate and align career exploration strategies for regional middle schoolers with intentional focus on living wage careers in our region’s most critical industries such as skilled trades, healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, and agriculture.
  • Support schools in implementing shared, regional Essential Skill framework at local participating K-12 districts.
  • Support schools in meeting PaCE standards.
  • Build and sequence additional career pathways at regional schools in the years beyond.
  • Communicate and coordinate local work with the region, the state, and other regions in the state.
  • Identify and coordinate workplace based experiences for high schoolers.

Key Longitudinal Outcomes

  • Increased high school graduation rates
  • Increased post-secondary enrollment
  • Increase in number of individuals with post-secondary credential
  • Increase in High School students with work based experiences 
  • Increase the number of students completing FAFSA application
  • Decrease in youth (16-19 y.o.) unemployment
  • Decrease the College Remediation rate of local high school graduates
  • Increase the number of Middle School students benefiting from career exploration experiences 
  • Increasing the number of High School students earning Early College Credits
  • Increase the number of students benefiting from financial literacy education
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