Program Excellence Award for Collaborative Children and Youth Initiatives: Populations Greater Than 20,000

Public Management, October 1996 | Go to article overview

Program Excellence Award for Collaborative Children and Youth Initiatives: Populations Greater Than 20,000


This year's Program Excellence Award for Collaborative Children and Youth Initiatives in the greater-than-20,000 population category goes to the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and to City Manager Robert W. Healy, Jr., for their Career Pathways Initiative.

In response to student complaints about the lack of connection between the skills they learn in school and those they need on the job, Cambridge city officials conducted surveys and focus groups to find a solution. City business leaders also expressed an interest in becoming involved, not only in employing but in training the city's youth. Through an innovative initiative, the Cambridge Citywide Youth Employment Office (CYEO) of the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) was able to help stem the growing tide of youth and employer frustration and make the connection between school and work.

Established in 1994, the OWD is an indirect-service organization that serves as a catalyst for innovative school-to-career program models and system building. Under the innovative leadership of Larry Rosenstock, a nationally known advocate for school-to-career programs, and with a commitment from the superintendent and school department to make these programs a priority, the OWD helped bridge the gap between the high school and the youth-service community.

The OWD brought educators, community-based organizations, and businesses to the same table, and the Cambridge Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) was born. A set of school-community-work-based learning experiences designed to promote the academic development and career preparation of Cambridge's young people, the Cambridge CPI places educational reform at the center of its school-to-career system. The goals are (1) to provide students with an organized way to gain access to work-based, hands-on learning programs and (2) to provide businesses with a menu of opportunities for involvement. …

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