21st Century Workforce Alliance Program

The 21st Century Workforce Alliance program engages passionate educators, known as Project Leads, who lead the work of providing students in their schools with high quality out-of-school skill building experiences at employer worksites. With the support of an instructional Skills Coach, Project Leads and their employer partners will design and deliver learning experiences that will allow students to develop and practice a common set of 21st century skills. Students will be charged with utilizing these skills as they engage in a short term workplace experience called a Skills Practicum.

~Meet the Project Leads~


Elizabeth Oliver

The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Mangagement

At Fordham High School for the Arts, Liz serves as the Partnership Coordinator. Her role includes being the primary liaison to industry partners, representing the interest of the school and needs of its students in designing and running course electives, internship programs, and summer enrichment experiences.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Liz will draw on the expertise of professional teaching artists in a variety of fields to run activities that help students develop their skills in ways that are fun, unconventional, and engaging. Through these experiences, students will make explicit connections between the skills that the activities foster and their application in work based learning experiences.

Building Block Spotlight: Verbal Communication

When a student’s verbal communication skills are finely honed, they can enter a new environment with confidence, can advocate for themselves, clarify things they don’t understand, make others feel heard, think flexibly, and negotiate disagreement with openness and empathy.

Emily Birden

School of the Future

At School of the Future, Emily serves as both a Teacher and Internship Coordinator for the school’s internship program. Through the teaching of an internship course, Emily supports preparing and placing all 11th and 12th grade students in internships throughout NYC.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Emily will focus on collaborating with industry professionals to create site specific training plans for students that incorporate 21st century skills development. In order to monitor student growth, students will receive product and performance reviews based on their work at their internship.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

When students have mastered this skill, they can clearly articulate the problem and its causes, creatively and effectively arrive at options for solving the problem, critically think about the pros and cons of each course of action, and pull the necessary information, resources, and team members to implement the solution.

Jennifer Gunn

Hudson High School

At Hudson, Jennifer Gunn serves as both a Teacher and Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator. This past year, she launched an internship and experience program called #GetOutThere. Since launching the program last year, she has connected over 150 students with experiential opportunities outside of the classroom.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Hudson H.S. will focus on creating a new credit bearing branch of their #GetOutThere program that will allow students to earn credit for engaging in Extended Learning Opportunity experiences. With Jennifer’s support, students will be charged with identifying 21st-Century Skills that they will focus on during their ELO program.

Building Block Spotlight: Verbal Communication

We live in a communication-driven world. When students clearly and successfully present information or advocate for their ideas, they are more successful. When they ask questions and challenge ideas, they are deepening not only their understanding but the work itself. When students participate in professional experiences, they find their voice.

Linda Key

Fordham High School for the Arts

At Fordham High School for the Arts, Linda serves as both a CTE Drama Teacher and Work Based Learning Coordinator. Linda utilizes scaffolded career and development units to prepare 9-12th grade students for workplace experiences with the school’s arts-based partners.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Linda will work to continue to place up to 16 students in arts and cultural based organizations. Throughout the year she focuses on giving students timely feedback based on school and worksite performance.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

A student in our skills lab encounters a challenge during an assigned administrative task. Instead of stressing out, they take a deep breath and brainstorm different response scenarios.They have practiced this skill daily in our skills lab, which stresses exercises that require flexibility in response... much like everyday life does.

Scott Jackson

Brooklyn International High School

At Brooklyn International High School, Scott serves as both a Teacher and as a member of the 11th grade internship team for the past 10 years. As a member of the internship team, he has been responsible for creating curriculums and internship seminars that run weekly during students’ 10-week internship experience. Over the years Scott has been an integral part of his team by finding and developing new partners and also maintaining relationships with older, long-term partnerships.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Scott will focus on developing a system where all students are able to focus on developing specific 21st century skills with the support of the partner sites. In an effort to measure student growth, he will be developing an evaluation system that will measure student achievement and mastery of 21st century skills targeted.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

When a student has a strong Personal Mindset when thinking of our internship program, they have developed a routine at their site, know what is expected of them, and have created with their supervisor an interesting and varied work experience... In the end, they see value in their experience and are making the most of it!

Valerie Gary

Academy for Young Writers

At Academy for Young Writers, Valerie serves as the bridge school counselor to 8th and 9th grade students, providing them transitional support into the school. In addition to coordinating the entire application process for incoming students, as a counselor, she conducts group counseling and mediation for students in her school. This year she will take on the additional responsibility of creating and facilitating career readiness workshops and discussions with a cohort of high school seniors participating in internships.

21st Century Skills Building Initiative

During the 2016-17 academic year, Valerie will conduct a series of career readiness workshops to support students before entering their internship experiences. Her focus will be to support students in developing the skills they need to effectively meet their employer’s performance standards. Her aim is to provide students meaningful ways to build the skills they need to succeed and to have them reflect on their own development.

Building Block Spotlight: Verbal Communication

Students will feel comfortable and confident talking to different populations regardless of status, race, ethnicity, or role in an effort to advocate for themselves and the things they care about. Academy For Young Writers plans to practice and master the art of effective verbal communication through different avenues such as mediations with peers and clarifying questions with teachers.