A $7 million federal grant will be used to establish further career pathways and services for students participating in career academies at three Prince George’s County high schools.
President Barack Obama announced the grant at Bladensburg High School April 7 for Bladensburg, Fairmont Heights and Potomac high schools, based on the work of career academies at the three schools. Fairmont Heights is located in Capitol Heights and Potomac is in Oxon Hill.
The grants come from Youth CareerConnect, a national competition backed by the Departments of Labor and Education, which gave out a total of $107 million in grants to 24 school systems nationwide, including Prince George’s County, Obama said during the announcement.
The purpose of the grant is to support programs that are preparing students for high-demand job fields, Obama said.
“We asked high schools to develop partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on real-life applications for the fields of the future, fields like science and technology and engineering and math,” Obama said.
The grant went to Bladensburg High’s Health and Biosciences and Hospitality and Tourism Academies, Fairmont Heights’ Information Technology Academy and Potomac’s Cyber Security Academy.
The career academies, part of PGCPS’ Secondary School Reform, provide specialized training in fields that can lead to careers, including professional certification or advanced preparation for college.
The grants will be used to provide further opportunities for students to obtain industry-recognized certifications or pursue further study in healthcare and IT fields, Christian Rhodes, education advisor for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said in an email.
“For a couple years now your career academies have been integrating classroom learning with ready-to-work skills and you’re preparing students to move directly into the in-demand jobs of the future — jobs in IT and biosciences and hospitality,” Obama told Bladensburg High students. “And now you’re stepping it up. You’re taking it to another level.”
School board vice chair Carolyn Boston (Dist. 6) said it is exciting to have Obama visit Prince George’s County schools three times this year and that his visits leave a lasting impression on the students.
“I’m very pleased that he’s recognized some of the great work we’ve been doing here, and brought federal support for some of the projects we have in place,” Boston said.