Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit and digital news organizations in the U.S. LTW includes an annual contest and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
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CareerExplore Northwest is an educational initiative created by KSPS PBS as a workforce development solution for our viewing region. Far beyond a typical job search website, it helps students and adults discover viable career paths by providing behind-the-scenes videos and easily accessible answers to questions about in-demand jobs in the Spokane region and what it takes to get them.
Block Club Chicago hosted a free resource fair on the West Side, bringing together 21 community organizations to offer free food, toiletries and health screenings to residents. Our neighborhood reporter was also on hand to take story tips and meet people.
After the governor of Nevada ordered the closure of all schools in the state, Vegas PBS immediately took action. Using the station’s capacity for digital distribution and production, Vegas PBS facilitated at-home learning with curriculum-based programming, provided critical information about COVID-19 and assisted displaced workers with our online workforce training programs.
Twin Cities PBS (TPT) fostered critical STEM learning in Minneapolis Beacons Afterschool Clubs by engaging students, families and educators with an important 21st-century workforce skill: computer science and coding. To add to the fun, TPT invited kids’ favorite PBS KIDS characters to learn along by using the innovative Scratch Jr coding program.
PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs supports high school journalists in the DC/Maryland/Virginia Metro Area through our Homegrown Fellowship. Over six months, students received professional training from video journalists, and by producing broadcast-worthy video news segments, students acquired and honed skills in writing, video production and editing.
BenitoLink is a hyperlocal nonprofit news organization launched by two young Latinx staff members with support from a local United Way grant. It is working to expand the voice of the Latino community in the region by making sure its news coverage reflects the local demographics, and developing a youth program that teaches journalism and work skills.
The Future Jobs initiative explores the careers that are trending now and will be in the near future in Western Pennsylvania, not just in urban areas, but in the suburbs and in rural communities. This multi-platform project aims to deliver information to the public when they need it, notably to middle school students and their teachers.
Public Media Network (PMN) is a Public, Education, and Government (PEG) media arts organization founded to serve five Michigan towns. Say Something! Youth Voices provides young residents access to training, equipment loans, media production facilities, programming distribution, and vocational instruction in media production to local high schools. PMN also operates WKDS 89.9 FM, a 100-watt FM non-commercial/educational radio station licensed to the Kalamazoo Public Schools.
KSFR partnered with the New Mexico Department of Veteran Services, Santa Fe Community College Veteran’s Resource Center, Santa Fe Vet Center, Horses for Heroes-Cowboy Up! and veterans groups to report on post 9-11 veterans’ re-entry into civilian life. The station helped organize a job fair for veterans that included screening the stories, speakers and entertainment for the veterans and their families. This project was supported with funds from CPB.
CareerExplore Northwest began in response to feedback from the Spokane area business community expressing a desire for a strong workforce for our region. Employers wanted to hire locally but lamented the lack of qualified or interested applicants. At the same time, local school districts were beginning to expand their goals beyond preparing students for four-year college degrees, recognizing the many options for living-wage jobs that required other types of training.
Starting in 2018, we developed an advisory council made up of the Spokane Workforce Council, industry leaders, Spokane’s chamber of commerce (GSI), several area school districts, regional universities, and our community colleges to help find a solution. The result is CareerExplore Northwest, a multimedia tool and community resource for students and adults that provides practical, up-to-date information about a variety of jobs in our region.
We began by working with businesses to produce 90-second job spotlights. We interviewed employees who were passionate about their work in order to inspire young people to seek out more information. Businesses and grantors cover our production costs and also receive an underwriting schedule on KSPS PBS.
We built a website, CareerExploreNW.org, to feature the job spotlights provide up-to-date data from the Spokane Workforce Council. CareerExplore Northwest has become a bridge between educators and industry. MacKay Manufacturing, our first sponsor, reported that 40 percent of their website traffic was driven by CareerExploreNW.org.
We regularly consult with Career and Technical Education specialists at area school districts to ensure the website meets their educational needs and to help them promote its use in schools. Our advisory council meets regularly to discuss project growth and assess how well the site is meeting local needs.
As we continue the project, at the request of both educators and businesses, we are creating 360-degree interactive Virtual Field Trips, where students can click-and-drag for an up-close look behind the scenes at regional companies.
CareerExplore Northwest has an impact that extends beyond its use in schools. While the primary demographic of the site is people under the age of 35, because the job spotlights also air on KSPS PBS, both young people and adults learn about jobs they may never have been exposed to otherwise.
CareerExplore Northwest has generated in excess of $300,000 in business sponsorship, mostly from new sponsors.