The Appalachia Partnership Initiative's Investments in Education, Workforce Development, and the Community: Analysis of the First Stage, 2014–2016
Oct 12, 2017
RAND researchers assess the Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API)'s progress toward its goals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for grades K–12; energy and advanced manufacturing workforce development; and community building from 2014 through 2019.
This report should interest (1) Appalachian regional education, business, and community leaders concerned with STEM education and career readiness of workers in the energy and advanced manufacturing sectors; (2) policymakers elsewhere in the United States interested in promoting STEM education and workforce development through public-private partnerships; and (3) policy analysts interested in how program evaluation can help to advance regional innovation.
The authors found that API set an ambitious, next-generation vision to improve the region's energy and manufacturing education and employment ecosystem in support of broader economic development through investing in particular programs and catalyzing a community of likeminded stakeholders to work toward these goals. The initiative made progress in improving awareness, skills acquisition, professional development, and industry engagement and skills alignment. Programs engaged with employers in many ways, including through advising and collaboration in training. Our analyses also found that gaps remained. Negative perceptions and lack of awareness of jobs in energy and advanced manufacturing persisted in the region, and programs struggled to keep up with evolving industry demands.
To support and sustain regional K–12 STEM education and workforce development systems, it is vital to continue to support programs' continual evolution, build awareness about STEM education and employment opportunities, and leverage connections among the private sector, education institutions, and government entities.