‘LIFEWORKS’ INITIATIVE AIMS TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR IN-DEMAND JOBS

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Greg Bortolin
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- May 23, 2018

Nevada Department of Education and Partners launch new campaign to inspire young adult participation in career pathways

CARSON CITY, Nev. –The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) has announced the launch of a first-of-its kind education-to-workforce initiative known as LifeWorks with a goal of developing more skilled workers for Nevada’s new economy.

In partnership with multiple state agencies, LifeWorks aims to coalesce all career development opportunities into one initiative inspiring students to achieve careers in high demand industries in the state. The LifeWorks initiative is focused on creating awareness around the work that is being conducted under the New Skills for Youth grant funded by J.P. Morgan Chase. New Skills for Youth seeks to expand pathways to in-demand, long-term careers for graduating high school students by empowering them with the skills, education and meaningful connections to local business necessary to thrive in Nevada's growing economy.

“The LifeWorks initiative is really an investment in education and business for Nevada’s future and a way to finally bridge the gap between the two,” said Dr. Dawn Burns, Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education and New Skills for Youth’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Students, teachers and parents are more likely to be engaged by pragmatic, results-driven curriculum and business owners can rest assured that they’ll have access to a properly trained and skilled workforce to be competitive in tomorrow’s economy.”

Through the naming of the initiative and the logo, the marketing campaign will aim to build aspirational intent from students surrounding the intersection of work and life, both breaking current perceptions of many in-demand jobs and highlighting the quality of life afforded by these jobs.

By 2020, 64 percent of jobs in Nevada will require a degree, training or certification beyond high school, yet only half will need a four-year college degree. Many of these career opportunities - spanning the fields of technology, advanced manufacturing, education and health care - will call for specialized training not exclusive to four-year degree programs.

The Department has worked with Nevada Legislators to achieve many significant legislative changes for students, each with a crucial emphasis on teaching students in-demand skills throughout K-12 education. Legislative success includes the expansion of Career and Technical Education programs, a new Career and College Ready High School Diploma (AB 7), which includes the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate; revising the current Standard High School Diploma, which includes college and career ready flex credits; expanding dual-credit opportunities with institutions of higher education (SB 19); and expanding formalized work-based learning programs (SB 66), among other measures.

“The Nevada Department of Education is dedicated to preparing students graduating from high school for the rigors of life, which includes postsecondary education as well as acquiring a job that pays a livable wage,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The LifeWorks initiative is a momentous step towards ensuring the success of that vision.”

With the introduction of LifeWorks, Nevada joins Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin, each of which have received a $2 million competitive grant. Funded by JP Morgan Chase, the grant will be distributed over the next three years and is part of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with CCSSO and Advance CTE.

The Department continues to work closely with the following statewide and nationwide partners: Local education agencies/school districts, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation (OWINN), Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), New Skills for Youth (NSFY) Steering Team, the workforce development boards, Nevada employers and business association representatives; and, national leaders in education, including the Council of Chief State School Officers.