Erie Regional Career Planning Project Adopts WIN Learning Educonomy Model to Prepare Learners for Jobs in Manufacturing, Health Care, and Other Growing Sectors

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WIN Learning's education, job market and workforce projections direct coalition's efforts to help students across the Erie region develop skills for area occupations

We have been able to collect and analyze data that's allowed us to develop a common language between business, education, students and parents that facilitates effective collaboration and goal setting.

Based on a recently released report, the Erie Regional Career Planning Project (Erie Project), is launching an “Educonomy” model in 16 school districts across Erie and Crawford Counties, designed to provide regional employers with jobs candidates who are equipped with the required employability skills to be successful on the job and in future apprenticeship and post-secondary education learning opportunities. The Erie Project is a partnership between the school districts, Manufacturer & Business Association, the Northwest Chapter of the National Tool and Machining Association, the Erie Community Foundation, and supporting local legislators.

The Erie Region Career Readiness Report (http://tinyurl.com/eriereport) leverages data provided by sources such as the Erie Economic Research Institute, and contains an analysis of the counties' economic data and occupational projections, the career readiness of high school graduates, and recommendations as to what educators and business leaders can do to produce a well-educated, well-prepared regional workforce. The report data is then fed into a web-based program, the WIN Learning Career Readiness System, which middle and high school students can access to explore options available in their regional labor market, establish career goals, and then acquire the literacy, mathematics and soft skills training necessary to prepare them for the best pathways to achieving those individual goals.

"Until the recent recession, it was rare for Erie County’s unemployment rate to be below the national rate by historical (pre 2007) standards, but at the same time, job openings were going unfilled because applicants didn't have the required employability skills," said Dr. Teresa Chasteen, president and CEO of WIN Learning. "Our Career Readiness System, which is based on the ‘Educonomy’ model, is designed to support workforce equilibrium by supplying the labor market with a workforce equipped with the skills in demand now and for the foreseeable future by that regional economy. With all area school districts using our system and employers being made aware of student credentials obtained through the program, we're helping the Erie Regional Career Planning Project overcome the area's 'skills mismatch' problem, so students and the local business community can thrive."

According to Richard Scaletta, superintendent of the General McLane School District, and project manager for the Erie Regional Career Planning Project, the effort is the outcome of ongoing discussions among superintendents, government, community, business and education entities, and is funded by the Erie Community Foundation and the participating school districts.

“Through the generous support of community stakeholders, we have been able to collect and analyze data that’s allowed us to develop a common language between business, education, students and parents that facilitates effective collaboration and goal-setting,” said Scaletta. “Educators are looking for relevant career driven solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into the existing curriculum with direct links to profiled occupational skill levels, the regional job market and economy. WIN Learning has made this possible through their tablet friendly Career Readiness System, professional development and implementation support materials while working in partnership with our community and 16 district consortium.”

The WIN Learning Career Readiness System begins with myStrategic Compass, a career exploration, planning and guidance tool that includes features such as a class planning tool that maps required high school classes based on career interests; college and degree program profiles to support post-secondary education planning; a resume builder, and sample and practice job applications.

Next, students can access two courseware systems. The WIN Career Readiness Courseware includes instructional content that reinforces the relevance between foundational skills – in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information and Reading for Information – and emerging high-demand, high-wage jobs in the Erie region.

The WIN College Readiness Courseware, is a digital test prep curriculum that helps learners achieve foundational college readiness in Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Reading and Writing/English.

The system also uses data from the Erie report's regional occupational profile study to integrate -- via WIN Soft Skills – soft skills development into the curriculum so that students cultivate the interpersonal, problem-solving and team collaboration skills in demand by Erie employers.

“This program is a model for areas looking to bolster their economy and citizens’ prospects for success,” said Scaletta. “ Students receiving the education, training and skills they need to secure high-paying, career-oriented positions in their areas of interest; attend post secondary vocational schools or universities while employers have the workforce they need to thrive, grow, and help the community prosper. It’s an absolute win-win for everyone.”

For more information about the Erie Regional Career Planning Project, please call 814-273-1033.

For more information about WIN Learning, call 888-717-9461 or go to http://www.winlearning.com.

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Leslie Eicher, APR
WIN Learning
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