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Summit to Encourage Partnership Between Businesses, Schools


The state’s top education and business officials will join a summit hosted by Pennsylvania College of Technology for an initiative that seeks to link regional businesses and school districts in helping students prepare for their careers.

More than 300 people have been invited to attend the Dec. 11 summit, which serves as a kickoff for a two-year project called “Gold Medal Initiative: Champions for Career Development.” Penn College’s Outreach for K-12 Office is administering a $100,000 grant from the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. to lead the initiative.

Among those invited to the event, to be held in the college’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium, are 75 business leaders and representatives from the 32 school districts in the CPWDC’s nine-county region: Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Columbia, Montour, Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Mifflin counties, as well as Sullivan County.

Scheduled speakers include Karl R. Girton, chairperson of the state Board of Education; Gerald L. Zahorchak, state secretary of education; Sandi Vito, state deputy secretary for workforce development; and keynote speaker Richard Delano, co-founder of LifeCourse Associates and president of Social Marketing Services. Delano’s address is titled “Understanding Today’s Youth Generation: Recruitment, Retention and Workforce Preparation of the Millennial Generation.” A national speaker, Delano will discuss the current generation of students, how the way this generation works differs from other generations, and how those differences affect the workplace.

Additional speakers include Dean Girton, chair of the Workforce Investment Board of Central Pennsylvania, and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

“The goals of the day are to come out with some concrete actions to link the business community with the school districts,” said Jeannette F. Carter, director of Outreach for K-12 at Penn College.

Pennsylvania is unique, she said, in that it has developed standards for its schools that are meant to help students learn how to make informed career decisions. But the school districts need champions in the business community to support them in offering career-development education.

The CPWDC received “gold medal” funding from the state for its past successes. It chose to use those funds not only to partner with schools and support their efforts to offer career-development education, but also to address critical workforce needs and keep Pennsylvania’s economy competitive.

Carter explained that the state’s Career Education and Work standards have many benefits for students. They can help students focus on the importance of their education and provide them with the skills needed to find a job they love, but none of it makes sense if the local economy is unable to sustain itself.

“You have to keep it lively, and the only way to do that is to showcase the good jobs that are available and to keep people in the area,” she said. “We want students to find where they fit (in the career world). Many of them will fit locally.”

The CPWDC hopes to build a partnership model that can be replicated by business and school leaders in other regions.

The public is welcomed to attend the morning talks, scheduled from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Online pre-registration is requested.

For more information about programs offered by Penn College for K-12 schools, visit on the Web , e-mail or call (570) 320-8003.

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