The PMI Educational Foundation has developed a successful partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. Through the partnership, members of the school district staff were able to first recognize the importance of project management in their own professional lives. Then, they were eager to develop their own project management skills and knowledge. Finally, they identified appropriate areas in the curriculum to embed project management knowledge for youth.
Beginning in December, PMIEF Programs Supervisor Chonnie Blair and PMIEF Programs Administrator Diane Fromm led a four-hour workshop for sixteen district staff. During the workshop, attendees developed an understanding of the project management process. They also were introduced to the idea that project management can enhance the college and career readiness of secondary school students, a common goal for educators everywhere.
The response to the workshop was overwhelmingly positive: school district staff members were eager to develop their own project management capabilities, requesting a more in-depth training that would delve further into the project cycle. PMI Delaware Valley Chapter member Kristi Baldwin volunteered to support the school district by leading that training.
Utilizing a no-cost PMIEF resource developed by the PMI Delaware Valley Chapter called Managing Life’s Projects (available for download in the PMIEF Learning Resources Library), Kristi led a two-day training for the school district staff. The training covered each phase of the project cycle with opportunities for participants to apply the concepts along the way. One unique component of the training was the way that the attendees were asked to prepare for the day. Each attendee brought examples of projects from their current portfolio, and part of the workshop time was dedicated towards relating the new project management concepts to real-world projects.
In addition to reaching the School District of Philadelphia staff, the two-day training was also opened to several attendees from the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. career academies. The career academy model was developed as a student retention initiative in 1969, with the goal of addressing student drop-out rates through focus on experiential learning, relevance and application. The career academy attendees of the Managing Life’s Projects workshop are exploring opportunities to embed project management into their high school curriculum to benefit students.
As an additional component of the School District of Philadelphia partnership, a third training was conducted earlier this month with representatives from the GEAR UP grant program. GEAR UP is another student retention effort with the goal of increasing the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
School District of Philadelphia staff members who participated in the first PMIEF workshop identified the staff team that supports the GEAR UP grant as an ideal audience to participate in project management training. Again, project management skills and knowledge were valuable tools for the staff members supporting youth, and could then be transferred to the youth themselves.
The partnership between PMIEF and the School District of Philadelphia is a sustainable one in which individuals who are not project management practitioners were introduced to project management knowledge and asked to consider the value of project management knowledge in their work. From there, they were more able to identify – and advocate for – the inclusion of project management knowledge in K-12 curriculum.
To learn more about implementing a project management training with a local community organization or school, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.