How to design skill standards for exit from high school and entrance into college or work? With support from the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, I led a team that worked with 800 biotech and pharmaceutical firms, 1500 colleges and universities, and their associations to develop the first in the nation skill standards for the bioscience sector.
Developing Cleveland’s first Career Technical High School Program with BP. In the early 90’s, large chains guarded the area surrounding West Tech High School on the near West side of Cleveland, most of whose students came from impoverished backgrounds. At the same time, Cleveland was faced with a shortage of car mechanics, who were retiring out and not being replaced. I helped a local NGO, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, to form a strategic partnership between BP, an auto repair chain, local foundations, and the school. The purpose of the partnership was to develop a program of teaching manufacturing skills at West Tech.
Despite formidable challenges, the program showed such promise that the US Department of Labor awarded it with a multi-million dollar expansion grant.
Does North Carolina’s higher education system support the needs of businesses in high growth clusters in the State’s economy? At the request of the State Legislature, RTI assembled a team that could answer this question. My team conducted qualitative and quantitative research and found significant gaps between University and community college graduation requirements and skills needed by the State’s employers in Advanced Manufacturing, biotech, furniture, art and design, and logistics.