Many young people in juvenile justice placement facilities do not leave with the necessary skills to re-enter school on grade level, graduate, enter post-secondary education, or obtain employment. This challenge is compounded by the fact that facilities often lack the expertise to provide high-quality career/technical education informed by emerging workforce trends and opportunities.
Through her Stoneleigh Fellowship, Candace Putter established the Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training (PACTT) project, a cross-system initiative to address factors that prevent youth in residential placement from succeeding in school and obtaining employment once they return home. Candace assessed current academic and career training programs across the state, conducted audits of the programs offered at residential facilities, developed curriculum and training improvement plans, and provided training and technical assistance to facilities and schools in implementing these plans.
Through Candace’s efforts, PACTT achieved the full support of the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Probation Officers, which authorized and implemented a PACTT affiliation process. The project also strengthened the relationship between the PA Department of Education and residential facility schools throughout the state, leading to notable improvements in the academic and career/technical training that young people receive in Pennsylvania’s public and private residential placement facilities. In 2010, PACTT was identified as Pennsylvania’s key innovation in juvenile justice by the MacArthur Foundation. It has since gained traction as a national model.