Monthly Archives: January 2006

Department of Labor Initiatives Winter 2006

 

Westmoreland/Fayette WIB Assists Students

The Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is helping high school students assess and improve their math and reading skills through Keys2Work program. Keys2Work is an on-line program that allows schools and training organizations to provide students with career-based skill improvement curriculum and an assessment that documents those skills for employers and post-secondary institutions. Community-based youth programs, which are supported financially by the WIB, are required to enroll their youth participants in Keys2Work. These programs are found in all Fayette County school districts, thirteen Westmoreland County school districts and three Career and Technology Centers.

The Keys2Work program has four steps: MEASURE, EXPLORE, IMPROVE and CERTIFY. In MEASURE, youths take quick pretests in math and reading that determine their current skill levels and equate this learning with an average wage. Youth then choose favorite careers by EXPLORing careers and industry clusters that match their interests. Students spend the bulk of their time in IMPROVE where they have unlimited access to curriculum assigned to target their specific skill gaps. Curriculum activity is tracked and progress can be aligned to both occupational requirements and to academic improvement, including progress towards the Pennsylvania State Standards Assessments. As a final step, students CERTIFY their skills by taking rigorous WorkKeys tests in math and reading. Each student is awarded a Foundation Skills Certificate, endorsed by prominent business leaders within each of the five regional priority industry clusters: Manufacturing, Healthcare & Biotechnology, Hospitality & Tourism, Financial Services and Information Technology.

Since its inception, the Westmoreland-Fayette WIB has been committed to leading workforce development in Westmoreland and Fayette counties. Last year using Keys2Work, 149 at-risk youth raised their anticipated future wages an average of $8,256. By supporting the use of Keys2Work, the WIB is helping students to assess their skills for jobs they are interested in with the skills /standards defined by the employer.