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Obama to Announce 24 Winners in $107M High School Redesign Contest

By Michele McNeil — April 07, 2014 3 min read
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President Obama will announce today that 24 winners will split $107 million as part of a high school redesign competition designed to better integrate work skills and real-world experiences into the classroom.

Winners of the largest grants of $7 million each include New York City, Denver, Los Angeles, Pike Township in Indianapolis, Prince George’s County in Maryland, and Laurens County school district in Clinton, S.C.

The 24 winners beat out 275 that applied for the Obama administration’s Youth CareerConnect competition, its high school redesign intiative that is being funded and run out of the Labor Department. The contest got a brief nod in Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he promised to work on important policy issues even without the help of Congress, which is mired in partisan bickering.

Although the Labor Department hasn’t released details from all of the winning applications, summaries the administration provided for a few of them show that schools are trying different tactics to better prepare students for careers.

In Los Angeles, career academies will be built in six high schools that will focus on healthcare, biotechnology, and other technology-related industries. In Denver, STEM-focused students will participate in a paid internship or job shadow and complete a capstone project that demonstrates how they applied the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to their work experience. In Clinton, S.C., three high schools will restructure their instructional calendars to expand individual learning time to better prepare students for computer science and engineering careers.

Today, Obama will visit Bladensburg High School, one of three high schools in Maryland’s Prince George’s County that won a grant, to make the announcement. The school will use its grant to expand the capacity of its health and biosciences academy. Students will also have the ability to receive postsecondary credit while still in high school and will have access to paid work experiences with employer partners such as Lockheed Martin, according to administration officials.

Each winning application includes at least one local high school and a district, a local workforce investment system entity, an employer, and an institution of higher education. In addition, winners have to secure matching private funds of at least 25 percent.

The full list of winners is:

Pima County, Tucson, Ariz.: $5.4 million

East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program, West Covina, Calif.: $4.5 million

Los Angeles Unified School District: $7 million

School District No. 1 in the City and County of Denver: $7 million

Putnam County Board of Education, Eatonton, Ga.: $2.4 million

Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, Postville, Iowa: $2.8 million

Manufacturing Renaissance, Chicago: $2.7 million

Metropolitan school district of Pike Township, Indianapolis: $7 million

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Kokomo, Ind.: $3.3 million

Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, Ashland, Ky.: $5.5 million

Jobs for the Future, Inc., Boston: $4.9 million

Prince George`s County Economic Development Corporation, Largo, Md.: $7 million

Independent School District 196, Rosemount, Minn.: $3 million

Independent School District #625, St. Paul, Minn.: $3.7 million

Anson County Schools, Wadesboro, N.C.: $2.3 million

Westside Community Schools, Omaha, Neb.: $2.6 million

Board of Education, Buffalo, N.Y.: $3.9 million

New York City Department of Education: $7 million

Toledo Public Schools, Toledo, Ohio: $3.8 million

Academia de Directores Medicos de Puerto Rico, Inc., San Juan, P.R.: $2.8 million

Laurens County school district 56, Clinton, S.C.: $6.9 million

Bradley County school district, Cleveland, Tenn.: $4.5 million

Colorado City Independent School District, Colorado City, Texas: $3.5 million

Galveston Independent School District, Galveston, Texas: $4 million

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