KDE releases New Skills for Youth request for applications


(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky Department of Education has released the New Skills for Youth Round 2 Request for Applications (RFA). The three round competitive grant process provides an incentive for local districts to transition state-operated area technical centers and locally-operated technical centers into regional academies.

Accomplished through the collaboration of two or more school districts, a technical center, a postsecondary partner, a community partner and employer engagement, the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative seeks to transform the delivery of career and technical education in Kentucky by:

  • Increasing student access to dual credit opportunities and seamless postsecondary pathways;
  • Allowing students to earn industry recognized credentials;
  • Providing students work-based learning experiences; and
  • Including pathways leading to the top 5 industry sectors, as identified by the Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics.

Round 2 applicants will be scored based on how well they meet the grant criteria, including applicants utilizing at least one state- or locally-operated technical center and exhibiting collaboration between multiple school districts and partners from business, industry and the community. Up to six planning grants will be awarded, with each recipient eligible for up to $115,000.

“This is an opportunity for high school administrators and school superintendents to join with higher education, community and business partners to transform education in Kentucky high schools,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “How can we rethink what we’ve traditionally done in high school to give students accelerated opportunities? How can we combine resources to offer these opportunities earlier than we have in the past, and how can high school look different? It is an exciting undertaking, and I look forward to hearing about the exciting and innovative proposals that are fueled by this latest round of grants.”

The grants are designed to aid school districts in the planning and development of regional career academies that are employer-driven, with business and industry partners providing direction in pathway decisions and work-based leaning experiences.

The academies are intended to be all-day learning environments that include both career and technical education and academic courses. As such, they will contribute to the Commonwealth’s overall career readiness strategy and efforts to close the achievement gap by providing students access to meaningful career pathways and seamless postsecondary options, all the while transforming the high school experience for Kentucky students.

The first cohort of grant recipients, who were awarded funds during the NSFY Round 1 RFA, are currently in the planning stages and expect to open their respective regional career academies in the 2018-19 school year. The first cohort includes collaborative teams from Burgin Independent, Corbin Independent and Lee County school districts.

“During the past 11 months, the state has deployed a portion of its grant funds to support the work of three outstanding regional career academies,” said JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Vice President of Global Philanthropy Alex Derkson. “With these three partnerships, we are seeing career-focused education pathways into healthcare, advanced manufacturing, business and IT services – the sectors of the future.”

For more information on the NSFY initiative, visit the Kentucky Department of Education’s NSFY webpage. All questions related to the grant opportunity must be sent to KDERFP@education.ky.gov. The deadline for grant applicants to submit questions is March 12, and the deadline for applications to be submitted is 4 p.m. ET, March 26. It is anticipated that Round 2 award recipients will be announced on or about April 23.