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The Pinellas Education Foundation Partners with JPMorgan Chase to Fund Teacher Externships

The Pinellas Education Foundation Partners with JPMorgan Chase to Fund Teacher Externships

JPMorgan Chase awarded the Foundation $100,000 to fund externships for teachers to better promote technical education

The Pinellas Education Foundation is proud to announce a $100,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase to fund teacher externships at local businesses. The externships seek to expose teachers to real-world workplaces, recognizing that most teachers have little to no experience in industry, and seek to better shape curricula and classroom activities relating to postsecondary career education.

In collaboration with industry leaders, nonprofits, students, and community advocates, Pinellas County Schools (PCS) adopted a master plan for career education in 2011, establishing Career Academies at every Pinellas high school.  These multi-year programs are designed to blend a student’s required academic courses with the career technical education that result in students attaining an industry certification. Since the program’s adoption, the number of students graduating with industry certification has grown from fewer than 2,500 to more than 9,000 yearly.

JPMorgan Chase seeks to help Pinellas County build on that progress by including teachers from all disciplines, making career and technical education accessible for thousands of additional PCS students.

“The Pinellas Education Foundation is a standout example of how investing and committing to student career readiness can lead to valuable careers for individuals and helps strengthen a community overall,” said Maria Escorcia, vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Florida at JPMorgan Chase. “We are excited to help them expand the externship program to include more participants, as they develop the instructional tools to prepare their students for the workforce.”

Over the next year, at least 25 Pinellas County schoolteachers will be matched with local businesses, where they will gain valuable workplace experience to use in crafting lesson plans.

“This generous gift from JPMorgan Chase allows us to expand and deepen the way instructors engage with student career readiness,” said Pinellas Education Foundation CEO Stacy Baier. “We hope to expand the program in coming years, increasing the number of teachers who can deliver lessons about real-world workplaces from personal experience.”

The program will help PCS progress towards its goals of increasing the percentage of high school seniors who progress directly to Pinellas Technical College from 5% to 10% over the next five years, and increasing the percentage of seniors who graduate with at least one indicator of career readiness from 60% to 70% over the same period.