Delaware Public Media

Delaware strives to prepare state's future workforce

Dec 13, 2017

Gov. John Carney, community groups and members of the business community are discussing ways to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

Carney held a roundtable discussion at Delaware Tech in Wilmington Tuesday on how to engage more members of business community with the program.

He said parents and teachers can help by teaching students basic skills needed for internships and other work-based learning opportunities - such as being on time to work and dressing appropriately.

“I think it just helps us develop partnerships with the employers - if we can say at the educational level, we’re helping with that aspect, so we’re giving you a good product so it’ll make it easier for you to make the commitment," he said.

A recent analysis by the United Way of Delaware and others show students need to learn about their career options as early as middle school.

Delaware is a recognized national leader for its Pathways program. The initiative offers students early college credits, apprenticeships and internships in high-demands fields.

Carney said he’s working to engage more companies to offer these career opportunities to high school students in Delaware. He says youth will learn invaluable skills that will help them later in life.

“That helps teach them some of those soft skills around coming to work and what to wear, what to say, how to conduct themselves, as well as the technical aspects of the job,” he said.

Community groups like the United Way are also urging the state to better integrate college and career preparation for teenagers.

About 9,000 students currently participate in the Pathways program across the state. Education officials hope to increase the enrollment to 20,000 in the next three years.