Finding Inspiration

By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV

I attended the NC WORKS Conference last month and walked away truly inspired.  I work in sales for Realityworks and keeping a pipeline of customers is essential for company survival.  Inspiration comes from seeing students become successful in life as a result of our products.

NC WORKS is not really focused on just finding jobs for people, but that is a GOOD thing.  They are focused on preparing people for well-paying careers and they have a great plan in place.  The pipeline starts with Career and Technical Education Directors looking at middle school, where kids explore careers suited to their intellect, their interest and their lifestyles.  That pipeline extends to high school, where students begin to make career choices, such as healthcare, or welding, or electrical trades, for instance.

Students choose a life career pathway that leads them to a certification, such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  But, the NC WORKS group does not want the student to stop there.  They want the student to get that certification as a step into post-secondary, where the community college might take the student from CNA into an allied health field, such as respiratory therapy.

The goal is to get a student highly skilled so that they can best support themselves (salary) in their communities. That salary amount depends on where they choose to live, such as the higher end for areas like Charlotte and maybe less for more rural areas.

The bottom line here is the planning that goes into making sure we are pointing students toward careers that will allow them to live and prosper, create and support their families and be productive citizens.

The good news is that the products that my company is offering align directly in the pathways laid out by the NC WORKS commission.  Our products allow students to experience workplace skills, such as geriatric nursing, welding or electrical trades in a safe environment and allows a student to find out early if they are well-suited for this line of profession.  That makes me feel good.

This is a big charge to take on especially with and this month’s proposed Presidential Budget.  It is aimed at cutting Career and Technical Education funding by a national average of 15%, this certainly won’t help this initiative.  In North Carolina alone, according to ACTE, the state could lose 28% of federal funding under the President’s proposed budget.

Let’s hope they keep working on that budget and keep education in focus.

Perkins Act Reauthorization: A Reminder to Continue Advocating

By Timmothy Boettcher, President and CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

The U.S. is on a path towards realizing how important Career and Technical Education (CTE) is in this country, and on June 28, Congress took an important step to ensure that journey continues: It announced a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the first comprehensive reauthorization of the Perkins Act to be considered by Congress since 2006. It’s the result of efforts by educators, business leaders, legislators and organizations to ensure that schools can equip students with the academic, technical and job-related skills they need to succeed and keep our country’s workforce competitive. It is spectacular to see those efforts coming to fruition.

Such efforts are the only way to keep support for CTE moving forward. With regular, consistent advocacy, educators and business leaders can connect. They can collaborate to develop programs that will properly prepare our future workforce – programs that match curricula to industry requirements, combine core academics with employability and technical skills and prepare students to be college- and career-ready. As Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King. Jr. recently stated, “Every job that leads to a secure future requires critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.” CTE programs provide students with those skills.

That’s why the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition (IWNC), which I chair, continues to foster partnerships between education and industry while advocating for increased funding on federal, state and local levels. It’s why the IWNC collaborated with the Association for Career & Technical Education and Opportunity America to help organize a Congressional staff briefing earlier this year on CTE from an employer perspective. And it’s why more work is needed to ensure that our workforce is properly prepared for the future.

This bill seeks to reform several aspects of the Perkins Act to reflect the challenges facing students and workers today. Highlights of the bill include improved alignment between education and workforce development laws, which will drive program congruency. It also simplifies the process through which educators can access CTE funding by lessening bureaucratic requirements and expanding state control.

The educators, business leaders, legislators and organizations who have worked so hard to make this reauthorization bill a reality deserve sincere appreciation. Strengthened CTE legislation is absolutely needed in this country to ensure our workforce is prepared for the future. However, we need to stay focused on ensuring the availability of CTE programs for all students. We need to work to ensure that those programs align with industry standards and incorporate core academics along with job-related skills so that today’s students are prepared for success in the 21st Century workforce. Let’s take this opportunity to continue advocating in support of the economically critical educational opportunities that CTE programs provide.

In addition to presiding over Realityworks, Inc., Timm chairs the IWNC, a group created by American business leaders to increase the population of skilled workers in the US through better alignment between the educational system and industry. Timm was also named ACTE’s 2015 Business Leader of the Year for his sustained commitment to improving CTE and the connection needed between the workforce development, economic development, and education systems.

School Funding Announcement: $500 AAE Member Grant Now Available

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

We know funding dollars are precious. That’s why we are constantly searching for school funding opportunities for educators. Recently, our school funding experts uncovered a grant from the Association of American Educators (AAE) for up to $500. The grant application is due March 1 and can be applied for by any AAE member.

This grant may be a great funding opportunity for purchasing the new RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program by Realityworks. This engaging, easy-to-implement program uses hands-on activities and real-world applications to teach students 20 soft skills, from communication and interpersonal skills to time management and responsibility – and best of all, the program is just $499.

The RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

The RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

It includes:

  • 19-lesson teacher guide
  • Set of 20 student workbooks
  • 19 Career-Ready Workplace Scenario Cards
  • 33 presentation slides

Learn more about this turnkey program here.  Find the grant application here.

When completing the grant application you’ll be asked to answer four key questions. To expedite your application process, we have provided the answers regarding our Employability Skills Program for you below:

  1. List of the materials that you are asking for: 19-lesson teacher guide, set of 20 student workbooks, 19 Career-Ready Workplace Scenario Cards, 33 presentation slides.
  1. What will these materials be used for and why are they needed? Helping students become college and career-ready is a primary goal our programs. One way to ensure career readiness is to give students the opportunity to actively practice a variety of soft skills. There is a soft skills gap currently in the United States which exceeds the technical skills gap we hear so much about.
  1. What will be the benefit for the students in your class and/or school from receiving these materials? This program gives students the opportunity for practical application of 20 different soft skills needed to get and keep a job. Each lesson includes two to four activities with students actively using the soft skill highlighted in that lesson in a variety of workplace scenarios and challenges.
  1. Include a lesson plan illustrating how these materials will be used. Click here for a sample lesson.

Not the grant for you, but want to find more school funding opportunities? We offer a robust Funding Center on our website. It includes information on fundraising and donations, PTAs and booster clubs, grants and crowdfunding. We even offer a free, searchable grants database. Click here to start exploring.

New Federal Funding Streams Available for Teen Pregnancy Prevention

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new funding opportunities for teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS prevention, one of which Realityworks’ RealCare Program could qualify for. Keep reading for specific language and details you could use to take advantage of these grant opportunities.

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Realityworks’ RealCare Program has the greatest potential for being included under the Tier 2A and 2B funding guidelines.

The five funding streams listed by the Office of Adolescent Health are as follows:

We believe that the RealCare Program has the greatest potential for being included under the Tier 2A and 2B guidelines. Below we have underlined key language from the full announcement for the Tier 2A and Tier 2B grants.

Supporting and Enabling Early Innovation to Advance Adolescent Health and Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Tier 2A) FOA AH-TP2-15-001

The primary purpose of the TPP Early Innovation Program is to establish two independent intermediaries that will select, fund, and support a portfolio of innovators across the country to design, test, and refine interventions to advance adolescent health and prevent teen pregnancy. For the purposes of this FOA, OAR defines innovation broadly as new or promising approaches, interventions, curricula, or strategies informed by scientific theory or empirical evidence that may lead to or have the potential to result in a substantial reduction in teen pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted infection (STTs) rates, and associated sexual risk behaviors.

One intermediary will focus on supporting innovation of technology interventions and the other will focus on supporting innovation of program interventions. Interventions may be designed to improve knowledge and skills related to TPP, improve the delivery of programs (e.g., increase participant engagement), and/or expand the ability of programs to reach youth who have otherwise been difficult to reach. Examples of technology interventions may include, but are not limited to, mobile applications, video games or other gaming technology, use of Geographic Information Systems (015) technology, adaptation of a pre-existing technology for new use, etc. Hybrid approaches that combine both program and technology may be classified as either, and will depend on whether the intervention is primarily (i.e., 50% or more) technology driven. Each intermediary is expected to fund a broad range of interventions to advance adolescent health and prevent teen pregnancy.

Rigorous Evaluation of New or Innovative Approaches to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Tier 2B) FOA AH-TP2-15-002

The purpose of this FOA is to increase the number of evidence-based TPP interventions available by rigorously evaluating new or innovative approaches for preventing teen pregnancy and related risk behaviors. The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed intervention is needed, likely to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and/or adolescent sexual risk behavior, relevant to the target population, and able to be rigorously evaluated.

To learn more about all of the 2015 grants available for teen pregnancy prevention, click here.

Using our Grants Search Database: A Search for Ohio Health & CTE Grants

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

If you’re struggling to find funding for your educational program, our free grants search database can help. Located within our online Funding Center, this database is a powerful resource for identifying potential funding sources for Health classes, Family & Consumer Sciences classes, Career & Technical Education (CTE) classes and more. In this new blog series (which began last week), we’ll show you how to maximize this tool by locating one national or state-specific grant each week, then showing you exactly how that grant was found and why it’s worth applying for. In this week’s post, we’ll explore searching for a grant within the state of Ohio for which health or CTE programs would qualify.

Begin by going to our website and clicking on the “Funding Center” button:

FundingCenterHomepage

This button will take you to the Funding Center homepage. Click on the “Nationwide Grants Database” button, choose the state of Ohio and look for grants relating to health and CTE. Enter your email address and for now, skip keywords as they might limit your findings.

Next, you’ll choose the type of institution or organizations that qualify for various grants. For this illustration, we have chosen “all.” The last criteria you will choose is the type of category that the grants relate to. For our example, we have chosen health/PE and Career and Technical education as we want to search for grants available for health and CTE teachers. Click “Search” and you are on your way!

FundingCenter-SearchExample-500wide

Now’s let’s take a look at the types of grants that we found in our search for grants in Ohio that all types of organizations that relate to health / PE and CTE. This search has identified 259 grants that you can take a closer look at:

FundingFriday2-SearchResults

Note: Any national grants will also show up when you do a state-specific search. The list of potential grants goes in chronological order with the application deadlines that’s coming up the quickest listed first.

As you scroll down the grant listing, you can click on individual grants for more details. We will pick the Monell Foundation Educational Grants to take a closer look at:

FundingFriday2-Image2

You can see that it is geared towards education, health and social services. These are all areas that our RealCare Baby infant simulators are used widely within. If you are a public school, you qualify for this funding source. You can see that Health/PE and General Education are specific instructional areas that also qualify. This particular grant has an application deadline for the end of October. Visit the grant’s website for even more details and application information.

Take a few moments today to try a search on your own. Look at the types of grants that are available nationwide. You may just find a hidden gem that will work for your program!

Do you have any questions about how this grant was found, or about searching for school funding in general? Contact us via email at marketing@realityworks.com or leave a comment! 

 

 

How to Use Our Free Grants Search Database: A New Blog Series

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Specialist

If you’re struggling to find funding for your educational program, our free grants search database can help. Located within our online Funding Center, this database is a powerful resource for identifying potential funding sources for Health classes, Family & Consumer Sciences classes, Career & Technical Education classes and more. In this new blog series, we’ll show you how to maximize this tool by locating one national or state-specific grant each week, then showing you exactly how that grant was found and why it’s worth applying for.

Begin by going to our website and clicking on the “Funding Center” button. This button will take you to the Funding Center homepage.

FundingCenterHomepage

Next, click on the “Nationwide Grant Database” button. For this example, we will choose the state of California and search for grants relating to health education. Begin by entering your email address and choosing your state. We recommend searching without keywords first, as it may limit your findings.

Next, you’ll choose the type of institution or organizations that qualify for various grants.  For this illustration, we have chosen “all.” The last criteria you will choose should equal the type of category that the grants relate to. For our example, we have chosen the “Health/PE” category as we want to search for grants available for health teachers.

FundingCenter-SearchExample-500wide

Click “Search” and you are on your way!  It’s that easy.

Our grants search database found 377 grants in our search for grants in California from all types of organizations that relate to health and physical education. Let’s explore those options.

As you scroll down the grant listing, you can click on individual grants for more details. Any applicable national grants will also show up when you do a state-specific search. The list of potential grants goes in chronological order with the application deadlines that’s coming up the quickest listed first.

FundingFriday1-SearchResults

The grant below is from the Orange County Community Foundation. You can see that it is geared towards education, health and human services. These are all areas that our RealCare Baby infant simulator is used widely within. If you are a public school, you qualify for this funding source. You can see that Health/PE are specific instructional areas that also qualify. This particular grant has no specific application date. Applications may be submitted on an ongoing basis. You can click on the website link within this listing to get even more information.

Now it’s your turn!  Take a look at the types of grants that are available in your state. You may be surprised. Happy hunting!

Do you have any questions about how this grant was found, or about searching for school funding in general? Contact us via email at marketing@realityworks.com or leave a comment! 

July Grant of the Month: The Kids In Need Foundation

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Baby Product Manager

KidsInNeed-MainLogoContinuing our monthly “Grant of the Month” series (click here to read June’s post), we are choosing this month to highlight a grant found using the Kids In Need Foundation. These posts are intended to help our customers connect with funding sources. Many of these sources are found by conducting simple internet searches for grants. Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse nor have any connection with this foundation or grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

This month’s grant was uncovered using our grant database search tool. The Kids In Need Foundation awards between 300-600 awards annually directly to classroom teachers for up to $500. Realityworks’ Total Parenting Experience program falls within the “program funded” areas of health/physical education and technology.

Below is the actual database entry for this grant:

Teacher Grants from The Kids In Need Foundation
Kids In Need Teacher Grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource our nation’s teachers. All certified K-12 teachers in the U.S. are eligible.

  • States: All States
  • Average Amount: $100.00 – $500.00
  • Address: 3055 Kettering Boulevard, Suite 119, Dayton, OH 45439
  • Telephone: 877-296-1231
  • Email: pennyh@kinf.org
  • Website: click here
  • Eligibility: Public School, Private School
  • Program Funded: Arts, ESL/Bilingual/Foreign Language, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Reading, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology
  • Deadline to Apply: 9/30/2014

Selection is based on innovativeness and merit, clarity of objectives, replication feasibility, suitability of evaluation methods, and cost effectiveness. This grant would be a great fit for teachers who are using RealCare Baby and other products in a creative way in the classroom. Please be sure to read the fine print in the grant guidelines and suggestions. This grant does NOT fund the purchase of pre-packaged lesson plans. It can be used to purchase supplies, materials or technology that are used in a new and creative way.
They look for projects that “engage students in hands-on activities that lead to acquisition of new knowledge, awareness or self-discovery.” This seems like a good match for the experiential learning products that Realityworks has.

Do you have any advice regarding the discovery of educational grants? Share them in the comments below!

 

Health Education Grant of the Month: Healthy Habits

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Baby Product Manager

Continuing our monthly “Grant of the Month” series that started in April (click here to read May’s post), we are choosing this month to highlight a grant found using the Center for Health and Healthcare in Schools. These posts are intended to help our customers connect with funding sources. Many of these sources are found by conducting simple internet searches for grants. Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse or have any connection with this center or grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

This month’s grant could potentially be a source of funding for Realityworks’ Healthy Choices Sex Education Program. Sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and found on the Center for Health and Healthcare in School’s website, the title is “Healthy Habits: Timing for Developing Sustainable Healthy Behaviors in Children and Adolescents.” The deadline for applying is September 8, 2014, so there is still time to explore this funding opportunity.

The center’s website provides a good overview of the grant. Eligible organizations include public and private institutions of higher education, nonprofits, for-profit organizations, government agencies and faith-based or community-based organizations. To complete the official application and get more information, click here

According to the NIH website, the purpose of this grant is “to encourage Small Grant Program (R03) applications that employ innovative research to identify mechanisms of influence and/or promote positive sustainable health behavior(s) in children and youth (birth to age 18).”

When looking closer at the types of programs that would meet the purpose of this grant, it appears that Realityworks’ Healthy Choices Sex Education Program would be a good fit.  This program includes the following pieces:

  • Life Skills and Healthy Choices for Middle School Students curriculum
  • Healthy Choices: Relationships, Sexuality and Family Planning curriculum
  • RealCare Baby 3
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby
  • Drug-Affected Baby
  • Pregnancy Profile Simulator
  • Shaken Baby

The NIH further states that the positive health behaviors promoted within this grant may include: developing healthy sleep patterns, developing effective self-regulation strategies, adaptive decision-making in risk situations, practicing proper dental hygiene, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, engaging in age-appropriate physical activity and/or participating in healthy relationships. Topics to be addressed in this grant include: effective, sustainable processes for influencing young people to make healthy behavior choices; identification of the appropriate stage of influence for learning sustainable lifelong health behaviors; the role of technology and new media in promoting healthy behavior; identification of factors that support healthy behavior development in vulnerable populations, identification of barriers to healthy behaviors; and, identification of mechanisms and mediators that are common to the development of a range of habitual health behaviors.

The Healthy Choices Sex Education Program is all about that: giving young people the information and tools they need in order to make healthy behavior choices. Lesson plans include activities and information on topics such as:

  • Healthy relationships
  • Community in relationships
  • Influences around us
  • Media influence on decision-making
  • Sexual wellness
  • Family planning and abstinence
  • HIV and STIs
  • Impact of a teen pregnancy
  • And more…

Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse nor have any connection with this grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

Family & Consumer Sciences May Grant of the Month: The Lawrence Foundation

By Denise Bodart, RealCare Product Manager

Continuing our monthly “Grant of the Month” series that started in April (click here to read the previous post), we are choosing this month to highlight The Lawrence Foundation. These posts are intended to help our customers connect with funding sources. Many of these sources are found by conducting simple internet searches for grants, using keywords like “parenting education,” “pregnancy prevention,” “sex education,” or “child abuse prevention.” Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse nor have any connection with this foundation or grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

The Lawrence Foundation is a private family foundation focused on creating grants to support environmental, education, human services and other causes. Realityworks’ Total Parenting Experience (TPE) and its premier simulator, RealCare Baby, fall within education and human services categories.

Per The Lawrence Foundation website: “The foundation is focused on making grants to support environmental, human services and other causes although our interests are fairly diverse and may lead us into other areas on an occasional basis. We make both program and operating grants and do not have any geographic restrictions on our grants. Nonprofit organizations that qualify for public charity status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or public schools and libraries are eligible for contributions or grants.”

The TPE program is used to teach in many of the areas listed above. Its curricula is aligned to the Common Career Technical Core , Common Core State Standards, National Health and National Sexuality Education Standards, while program simulators are used by over 2000 human services professionals and social workers nationwide to help educate at-risk youth. Shaken Baby is specifically used by many human services organizations and schools to teach child abuse prevention. The entire TPE experience serves as a comprehensive, hands-on parenting education program in over 60% of school districts in the nation.

The Lawrence Foundation website has clearly written information on how to apply, what their grants can be used for and key deadlines. Grants are awarded twice a year. Grant applications may be made by any organization that wishes to be considered for a grant and meets their grant guidelines. The grant application due date for the June grant cycle is April 30. The application due date for the December grant cycle is November 1.

You are encouraged to go to the website to find out more about the history of the foundation and grant opportunity.

Click on this link to their website to learn more: http://www.thelawrencefoundation.org

Family & Consumer Sciences April Grant of the Month

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks Product Manager

We want to help our customers connect with funding sources any time that we can, and it’s therefore a great reminder that searching for grants online can garner surprising results. Using keywords such as “parenting education,” “pregnancy prevention,” “sex education,” or “child abuse prevention” can provide potential grant leads. The following grant was found through searching by keyword. Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse nor have any connection with this foundation or grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

The RGK Foundation awards grants in the broad areas of Education, Community and Health/Medicine. Upon reviewing the three areas, it appears that the Total Parenting Experience, including RealCare Baby, falls best within the “community” category here.

Per the RGK website:

“Within Community, the Foundation supports a broad range of human services, community improvement, abuse prevention, and youth development programs. Human service programs of particular interest to the Foundation include children and family services, early childhood development, and parenting education.”

The Total Parenting Experience (TPE) is used to teach in many of the areas listed above. The program’s curriculua aligns to the Common Career Technical Core Family and Community Services Career Cluster, Early Childhood Development and Training Career Cluster and Education and Training Cluster, and the program’s simulators are routinely used by human services professionals and social workers to help educate at-risk youth. Shaken Baby is specifically used by many organizations and schools to teach child abuse prevention. The entire TPE experience serves as a comprehensive, hands-on parenting education program in over 60% of school districts in the nation.

The RGK Foundation website has clearly written information on how to apply, what their grants can be used for and key deadlines. You are encouraged to go to the website to find out more about the history of the foundation and grant opportunity.

Click on this link to their website to learn more: http://www.rgkfoundation.org/public/guidelines

 

 

 

 

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