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CAEL Pathways Blog

CAEL, Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education to Host Regional Workforce Assemblies

Collaboration of industry, postsecondary, and community leaders will align agile educational offerings with real-time employment needs.

INDIANAPOLIS Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education Foundation, in collaboration with Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education, will host a series of virtual Regional Workforce Assemblies in partnership with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). The series will provide holistic forums where executives representing key industries within the Commonwealth can convene with academic and community leadership about increasing adult learner access to educational opportunities that further their careers and drive economic growth in Pennsylvania. The assemblies, which will launch this fall, are made possible by financial support from Lumina Foundation and Strada Education Network.

Even before the pandemic, the rate of technological change was making upskilling or reskilling necessary for workers of all ages to develop and advance in their careers, said Dawn Lang, senior vice president, partnerships, for CAEL. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has even further accelerated this trend: Now, many newly unemployed Pennsylvanians also will need new skills to continue or pivot to rewarding careers.

These assemblies will bring together stakeholders who can amplify the impact of our shared desire to increase both the number of work-relevant learning pathways and access to them, said State System Chancellor, Dan Greenstein. Hosting them is part of the State Systems commitment to preparing workers with industry-recognized competencies and skills needed to sustain our states talent pipelines and power our economy.

The vision of the assemblies is to better understand regional workforce demands across Pennsylvania and to provide effective stackable credentials and high-impact practices that allow adult learners to balance their education and training with job schedules, family needs, and financial resources. Each stackable credential is part of a learning pathway with a clear connection to in-demand jobs and skills. This incremental learning approach builds toward higher-level credentials, allowing students to periodically stop out for work or family responsibilities without losing credit or having to repeat what they have already learned.

CAEL will support the assemblies by helping the State System develop deeper connections to the labor market. Convening education, workforce development, and employment leaders will allow them to assess individual organizational strengths and opportunities to build upon their collective ability to identify and prioritize the skills and knowledge needed for success in high-demand occupations.

Assembly findings will help inform the State Systems support of curricula development optimized for workforce needs, supporting career success, business performance, and community economic prosperity. At the same time, maintaining stronger ties between academic programs and key industries will ensure the continued relevance of postsecondary education amid evolving marketplace demand.

About CAEL

Established in 1974, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a Strada Education Network affiliate and national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to partnering with educators, employers, and workforce and economic developers. Together we reimagine how education and employment fit together, and we create lifelong pathways that integrate learning and work. Our aim is to support the engaged participation of adults in thriving talent pipelines and robust economic development in the 21st century economy.

About Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education

Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 95,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.

About Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Foundation

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Foundation works to secure and disburse private philanthropic funds that enhance and support the goals of the Board of Governors and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. Its work benefits every State System university. Fundraising and relationship-building efforts are focused on prospects and donors who are passionate about education, express a clear desire to support system-wide efforts, and share a similar geographical (statewide) footprint.

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