(Source: Career Ready Lancaster)
(Source: Career Ready Lancaster)

A new website that connects Lancastrians to career paths and opportunities has launched.

Career Ready Lancaster (CRL) is a product of collaboration among local businesses, school districts, colleges, other educational organizations, and nonprofits. (Among the latter is United Way of Lancaster County, sponsor of One United Lancaster.)

This collaboration is essential, said Peter Caddick, Chair of CRL steering committee. It's become much harder for people to find jobs through personal networks, he said.

“People have become more spread out. There’s less community spirit,” Caddick said. “Career Ready Lancaster is about bringing some of those connections back.”

About 45 individuals from a variety of organizations are helping to develop CRL. The steering committee, whose job is to “set the direction” and “cadence” for the initiative, is made up of eight people: Caddick, Anna Ramos from the county Workforce Development Board, and two people on each of three subcommittees: Employer Demand, Career Resources, and Marketing.

The organization's first benchmark: By 2023, every high school senior will enter post-secondary education or the workforce "with the knowledge of their career opportunities and with a clear, achievable plan in hand."

The idea for Career Ready Lancaster took shape in mid-2019 through collaboration with the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board.

It aligns with the state's Career Ready programming and with similar initiatives at the county level elsewhere, such as Career Ready Berks.

CRL calls its website a “springboard” instead of a “landing page” to emphasize its desire for the site to be a tool to provide connections and help people grow into their career paths, said Caddick.

It offers resources for parent and students, and an array of information about different career paths, including videos, written summaries and the Career Pathways Directory.

One section covers the "High Five" job skills young job seekers need: Resilience, Integrity, Problem Solving, Communication and Teamwork.

The ultimate goal of CRL is that it becomes unnecessary “because everybody’s connected,” said Caddick. But “that’s probably a truly aspirational goal. We want people to know where to go, to be able to be connected to be careers, to use both the virtual and physical network, and know there’s a network there.”

Emily Ritchey