A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Study of School-To-Work Initiatives
Cross-Site Analysis June 1995
CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF SCHOOL-TO-WORK REFORM
ELEMENT ELEVEN: CREATIVE FINANCING
Obtaining seed money for reform in its early stages is almost always a critical element of school-to-work initiatives. Creative approaches to financing that leverage a variety of options are more typical than the exception. Many initiatives have drawn on federal funding, including Perkins Act and other vocational and special populations grants. Where the state government has supported tech prep and related reforms, state funds have made a significant difference. In some states, funds for educational reform, including specific set-asides for school-to-work transition, have helped schools initiate school-to-work reforms. Business has provided funds, in-kind contributions, and human resources that have not only underwritten specific programs, but offered evidence of corporate support that often helps leverage additional support. Interagency agreements that allow education programs to draw on other governmental funds, particularly those set aside for employment and training or for special populations, have greatly benefitted school-to-work transition systems in several states.
The crucial skill in securing funding is creative leveraging. None of the communities studied by AED made its school-to-work initiative happen by obtaining one large grant to support it. Instead, administrators imaginatively patched together and coordinated funds from diverse sources, coping with the multiplicity of funding categories and regulatory requirements.
Youth Transition Program, Oregon
The Youth Transition Program was collaboratively developed and co-managed at the state level by the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Division (OVRD), and the University of Oregon. The funding of YTP reflects the collaborative nature and management of the program. The OVRD provides a dedicated full-time position to the YTP effort, and federal vocational rehabilitation funds are matched by local education agencies. Participating school districts support the salary and fringe benefits of the teacher who is assigned to coordinate YTP locally. The actual provision of services is supported by OVRD, which awards contracts to local school districts. This funding structure offers local districts the opportunity to develop a YTP through a competitive process. School districts and educational service districts apply for two-year grants, which are made available on a continuation basis as schools restructure and refine traditional ways of providing services to students with disabilities. Additional support is provided by collaborating institutions through training and technical assistance.
Comprehensive Employment Work and Transition (CEWAT), Charlottesville, Virginia
Starting with about ten students and funded by the Virginia state department of education, CEWAT had developed into a collaboration of public and private agencies and programs serving 115 students in the 1993-94 school year. A collaborative relationship for service delivery has been developed between the Charlottesville Schools, a private nonprofit employment services agency, and the local Private Industry Council (PIC). School system funds and JTPA funds (provided by the PIC) together support job seeking, subsequent training, and follow-up services needed to ensure successful community employment for students. Combining funds allows the high school to purchase cost-effective vocational transition support services. For example, the school system provides funding for the vocational planner who coordinates CEWAT and for half of the placement services, including two employment specialists, and JTPA funds cover the other half of the placement services.
Education for Employment, Kalamazoo County, Michigan
Education for Employment (EFE) has a history of winning private and public grants that pay for new activities but also sustain important connections with state, national, and even international policy makers. in the workplace, and in their per both the basic vocational education grant and an array of discretionary grants secured by the Kalamazoo Valley Intermediate School District. According to administrators, the discretionary grants have made possible many of the innovations introduced under EFE. For example, EFE received funding under the Perkins Act for twelve years to encourage the enrollment of nontraditional populations in vocational programs and to discourage sex bias and stereotyping. These funds have paid for social marketing, counseling, and technical assistants--classroom aides who help students master course content, provide support, and assist with exams and studying. With support from the German Marshall Fund, EFE administrators were able to observe school-to-work programs in other countries. Grants and technical assistance from Jobs for the Future (JFF) have been especially important to the EFE Health Occupations Program and connected the EFE into the JFF network of programs.
Metro Tech Vocational Technical School, Phoenix, Arizona
Metro Tech staff are quick to point out how important their Perkins Act grant has been to their reform efforts, especially to academic infusion and technology-based instruction. Acquiring that grant enabled the district to embark on a focused drive to integrate academics into vocational education. The leadership chose as its primary strategy the application of writing and mathematics across the curriculum. The grant paid for equipment, software, released time, instructional aides, evaluation, and teacher reassignment. Factors that contribute to Metro Tech's success in pursuing funding include an administration that made pursuit of external funding a priority and the school's commitment to populations who are targeted for special funding. Metro Tech also had in place a system to see that the monies were well- managed: a comprehensive plan and an administrative structure created to manage their expenditure. The new funds were applied to goals and strategies previously endorsed by the school staff, in an institutional climate supportive of reform.
Rothsay High School, Rothsay, Minnesota
Although Rothsay's business community is tiny and includes no major employers, the school has engaged businesses in various ways. The Rothsay Community Development Corporation provided financing for Tiger Mart, the student-owned and operated grocery store. The Otter Tail Power Company provided advice on energy conservation and two free months of electricity to the grocery, and the local bank and grocery wholesaler have also provided assistance and advice. A software distributor donated software and training to Storefront free of charge.
Rothsay's successful pursuit of a variety of private grants has purchased inventory for the Storefront, paid for entrepreneurial workshops, and supported planning for a "global trade center," besides underwriting the school-community coordinator position. These monies have been extremely important to Rothsay, which, like many other small school districts, has faced a perilous financial situation for several years, a threat always in the background of its reform efforts.
[Element Ten: Articulation with postsecondary institutions]
[Element Twelve: Application of research]