RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—JPMorgan Chase & Co. chose RTI International to serve as the third-party evaluator of the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative, a grant program for states to expand and improve career-focused education that prepares students for high-skill and high-wage jobs.
Launched by JPMorgan Chase, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Advance CTE, NSFY is aimed at enabling young people to obtain the education and credentials they need to be career-ready and succeed in well-paying jobs.
A total of 44 states applied to participate in this initiative, of which twenty-five received funding in Phase I for planning and early implementation. Up to 12 states will receive funding during Phase II to implement the plans developed during Phase I.
“The enthusiasm for this project attests to the common interest in connecting students to employers and providing them with the skills most rewarded in the labor force,” said Sandra Staklis, Ph.D., a research education analyst at RTI and the project director. “This could be the beginning of a trend among employers to engage in education and workforce development that will ensure the future workforce has the necessary skills to thrive.”
RTI will assess NSFY activities, including the states’ success in implementing their proposed plans, reporting on the number of participating sites and students, the role and contributions of partners and stakeholders, and the identification of best practices.
RTI will also assess progress towards achieving these six key objectives:
- Create demand-driven and employer-led processes to align industry sectors with career pathways and programs of study
- Ensure rigor and quality in career pathways for all students in all secondary settings, especially underserved populations
- Incorporate accountability systems that measure and value completion of meaningful pathways, work-based learning, enrollment in postsecondary education or apprenticeships, and education and workforce credentials that are valued by employers
- Improve career pathways spanning secondary and postsecondary systems that ultimate lead to credentials that are valued by employers
- Align state and federal funding streams to deliver career-focused programs to all students
- Foster collaboration between K-12, postsecondary institutions, the workforce system, and other stakeholders to ensure smooth transitions for students and minimize institutional barriers
To assess these outcomes, RTI will conduct site visits and interviews to collect rich qualitative data. Although longer-term student outcomes—such as employment retention and postsecondary persistence and completion—may not be achieved within the grant timeframe, RTI will work with states to develop data collection and analysis plans for tracking these outcomes after the grant period ends.
“We believe that supporting the career readiness of young people is critical for not only their employment outcomes, but for the strength of our entire economy,” said Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “We look forward to using the results of RTI International’s research so that we can continue to strengthen our investments in innovative, career-training programs worldwide.”
Learn more about RTI’s education and workforce development capabilities.