Philadelphia is struggling when it comes to making sure its high school students are reading at grade level, though the city is working on it.
Because, as mentioned by Coded by Kids’ Sylvester Mobley, kids’ “options are limited” when it comes to trying to get into college or a career if they’re in the 12th grade but are at a sixth-grade reading level.
The Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), a North Philly nonprofit with a focus on workforce training programs, is now helping to prepare high school students for both careers and earning that high school diploma with its new tuition-free OIC Workforce Academy (OICWFA).
The idea behind starting the OICWFA, according to Dr. Kahlila Lee, executive director of OICWFA and VP of education at OIC, was to provide local students and young adults between the ages of 16 and 21 with a program that would prepare them for college as well as the workforce — they wouldn’t have to choose between the two early on.
For its first year, the accelerated program, which had its first class the end of August, will have its students completing classes that earn them PA Department of Education requirements toward a high school diploma, as well as participating in workforce development training in four industries: banking, culinary arts, environmental services and hospitality.
Highlights from OIC Workforce Academy First Day of School: https://t.co/LBiOsLXzTW
— Philadelphia OIC (@PhiladelphiaOIC) August 29, 2017
And because the OICWFA is being run through the School District of Philadelphia’s Opportunity Network for nontraditional education options, it means, one, the OIC staff is able to access students’ academic history to make sure their needs are being met through the program’s adaptive schedule, and two, the students will earn high school diplomas through their local high school.
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“We sought to help students during the informative years to armor them with the academic training that is needed to become successful,” Lee said in an email. “Earning a high school diploma can lead them on a path to prepare them for many options.”
As of writing, the academy has 87 students enrolled and 38 slots still open, since the program operates on a rolling admissions process. For those who are interested in the program, you can read more about it here or email email@example.com for more information.