OKLAHOMA CITY - JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers have awarded Oklahoma a grant that will complement Gov. Mary Fallin's existing Oklahoma Works Initiative goal to create a future-ready workforce.

The New Skills For Youth grant will provide Oklahoma with $2 million over three years to help improve access to skills-based education and training for high-skill, well-paying careers.

"I created Oklahoma Works to ensure our state has a relevant workforce to match the skills and training needed by business and industry," Fallin said. "Focusing on programs that match our workers to the skills required in the sectors that drive our state's economy helps Oklahoma succeed by recruiting and growing businesses, while providing higher wage jobs for our citizens."

JPMorgan Chase and CCSSO used a rigorous review process with an independent advisory committee to select the states that would receive grants from the New Skills for Youth initiative, which is a $75 million, five-year global effort aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs. The 10 states selected - Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin - presented the strongest plans to work with education, business and government stakeholders to create career preparedness education and training programs.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the grant will help implement individualized academic plans, redefine the senior year, increase concurrent and dual enrollment with earned college credit and career certification, and further connect schools with business and industry.

"We are thrilled that Oklahoma is among a select few states to win this highly competitive grant," Hofmeister said. "This will enable families to engage early with their own student's academic strengths, needs and aspirations for the careers and jobs of the future and will equip schools to support that work."

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