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Have you memorized the periodic table by heart? Could you solve a problem using the Pythagorean theorem? How about spelling the word onomatopoeia?

While that deserves credit, Penn Manor School District personnel say that’s just one piece of the puzzle to finding success in the workplace.

That’s why Penn Manor has partnered with local business representatives, the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board and CareerLink of Lancaster County to create the Comet Credential program, which officially began Wednesday.

The first of its kind in Pennsylvania, district officials said, the initiative is designed to teach students the “soft skills” necessary for succeeding in the modern workplace — skills such as time management, communication, decision-making and writing.

Honing these skills, Penn Manor High School guidance counselor Melissa Ostrowski said, “sets you apart. It makes you special. And that’s what you want to be in the marketplace and in your classroom.”

The entire freshmen class — roughly 400 students — will complete online courses throughout the year during homerooms and allotted testing times. After each completed course, students receive a credential, which students could add to their resume or LinkedIn page, Ostrowski said.

In total, it will take about 23 hours to complete every course, although finishing the entire program isn’t required, Ostrowski said.

The district is using a $5,000 career readiness mini-grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to create incentives and other additions to the program.

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What is SkillUp™ Lancaster?

Skillup® Lancaster is designed to help Lancaster County, PA to build a workforce ecosystem that supports positive economic development. Job seekers can explore career pathways, view local job postings, register for free online learning, and receive workforce services. Employers can search for qualified candidates, post jobs, and receive in-depth consulting to address hiring and training needs.

Pennsylvania has supported the SkillUp™ PA initiative by allocating state tax dollars to spearhead the implementation of this online learning portal. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry was competitively awarded federal tax dollars through the United States Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) totaling $3 million. The CAREER NDWG is entirely federally funded and 100% of these funds will be utilized to purchase licenses and further implement the SkillUp™ PA initiative over a multi-year period.