Pennsylvania Workforce Innovation Award Nomination: Teacher in the Workplace

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Eileen Cipriani

Email Address:

Agency Name: Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry (L&I)


Teacher in the Workplace

Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) in cooperation with the Department of Education (PDE) developed the Teacher in the Workplace (TIW) program in 2018. The Department of Labor and Industry awarded $1,927,380.96 in grants to Local Workforce Development Boards across the state for In partnership with their Local Workforce Development Board, schools implemented Teacher in the Workplace programs that connect the classroom to the workplace for K-12 educators across Pennsylvania. Through Teacher in the Workplace programs, teachers, counselors, and administrators are provided experiences interacting directly with industry and business leaders, and learning about industry trends, needs, and opportunities that they can bring back to the classroom to enhance instruction, student learning, and career readiness. These projects are designed to support business and education partnerships by connecting local businesses with schools to promote career pathways across multiple sectors. The primary goal of the Teacher in the Workplace experience is to help educators align academic content to the career and make those connections for students to prepare them for post-secondary success.

Workforce development boards have partnered with multiple organizations, e.g., school districts, intermediate units, chambers of commerce, post-secondary institutions, economic development entities, community organizations, that immerse educators into industry experiences. Through the collaborative process, educators will integrate industry needs into classroom instruction. By enhancing their knowledge of local employer needs, teachers align instruction to specialized career pathways and the types of employability skills and qualifications required for occupations in local industries. In turn, students can be instructed in skills that may help close local and statewide skills gaps.

Forty-eight grants were awarded as a pilot program in 2018. This project highlights the collegial relationship between L&I and PDE and is just one example of cross-agency collaboration. To date over 1200 teachers from over 200 local education agencies (LEA) have participated.

In fall 2018, the departments worked together to update and improve the project based on lessons learned to date. A second round of funded was awarded to projects statewide to begin in the Summer of 2019.

PA Governor Tom Wolf has called for increased opportunities for educators and related staff to have real world workplace experiences to inform their teachings and guidance to students. Teacher in the Workplace programs provide educators with opportunities to interact directly with local industries and businesses, and expand their classroom instruction and other learning opportunities to include real-world problem solving and employability skills.

Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

The first year of the Teacher in the Workplace will be completed in Summer 2019. The department has been tracking progress on the projects desired outcomes.

  1. Cross section of PA's Industry Clusters participating. To date six industries have participated, Agriculture, Healthcare, Energy, Business Services, Logistics and Transportation and Advanced Manufacturing.
  2. Number of educators participating, to date over 1200 in over 200 LEA's.
  3. How curriculum has been changed based on teacher's experiences, this is still being collected.
  4. Number of students affected by curriculum changes, this is still being collected.
  5. Number of Act 48 Teacher Continuing Education credits, this is still being collected.


Other significant contributions 

Some school districts planned to conduct industry visits during the school year, but a shortage of substitute teachers made this difficult. To overcome this hurdle TIW events were scheduled during the summer months. School districts also used technology to share what the teachers had learned with their colleges and a broader cross section of the students in the district.


Examples of work 

PA - 81658 - TeacherBooklet.GovInt.2018.pdf (2.6MB)
PA - TIWmap_FB.png (780.2KB)
PA - TIWindustries_FB.png (920.4KB)
PA - TIW pic Lebanon IU132018-12-11 at 10.42.02 AM.png (168.3KB)