On November 12, 2019, members of the Mission: Readiness council joined Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania's Adjutant General, Major General Anthony Carrelli to announce the results of the organization's Workforce Readiness Report. The report primarily focuses on research-based support for investing in Pennsylvania's youth.
In addition to providing suggestions for areas of improvement, the report documents steps and victories that have already been made for Pennsylvania's children, including leaps in the availability of early childhood education, K-12 funding, and youth fitness and nutrition programs.
“Research is clear that brain development from birth to age five sets the foundation for children’s future success,” said Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Ralph Jodice. “High-quality child care and early education programs like pre-k set the stage for readiness by improving children’s cognitive ability, health, and behavior throughout life.”
While there is still work to be done, in the last few years Pennsylvania's state government has taken great strides in improving child care and workforce readiness, such as:
- Expanding access to child care and reducing waiting lists with $15 million in federal funds so that nearly 1,000 infants and toddlers would have quality care, enabling their families to go to work or school
- Investing $10 million to incentivize programs to increase child care quality ratings through the commonwealth’s STARS program
- Increasing the number of children able to attend pre-kindergarten by 60 percent
- Restoring the $1 billion education cut made previously that led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and program cuts
- Increasing the high school graduation rate to 86.1%, putting Pennsylvania above the national average
- Increasing the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 34.2% and increased the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 27.2%
- Providing high school students options to demonstrate graduation readiness as alternatives to standardized testing
- Investing $10 million in the PAsmart program
- Launching the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to enhance workforce development