A History of Partnership

The York County Alliance for Learning (YCAL) was founded as “The York County Business Education Partnership, Inc.” in September of 1989 by William Simpson (CEO of Pfaltzgraff) and Thomas Wolf (CEO of The Wolf Organization). The organization was launched with the mission “to increase support for and improve the quality of education within York County, Pennsylvania and certain adjacent areas”. Following the strategic merger with similarly-aligned organizations and programs such as the First Capital Compact and School to Work Program, the organization officially changed its name to the “York County Alliance for Learning” in December of 2000.

YCAL’s mission is connecting educators and employers to engage students in career education, exploration, and development. YCAL’s aspiration is to be the go-to resource for educators who help students make meaningful career decisions. YCAL meets this mission and aspiration by facilitating partnerships and leveraging resources to advance innovative career education and workforce development initiatives.

YCAL is recognized as an intermediary organization that connects employers, students, educators, and the community to assist in aligning the skills and education of the future workforce with employers’ needs.

YCAL Program Overview

Educator Programs

Career Education and Work Standards Symposium
Since 2011, YCAL has hosted the Career Education and Work Standards Symposium for York County educators. This event focuses on the Career Education and Work Standards, and other Pennsylvania’s academic standards, which includes Career Awareness and Preparation; Career Acquisition; Career Retention and Advancement; and Entrepreneurship. The event typically includes a keynote speaker, breakout sample lesson presentations, and an employer panel discussion. This event helps to promote county-wide collaboration and best practices at all grade levels K-12.

Educator in the Workplace
The Educator in the Workplace program connects teachers with the business community. The course provides educators the opportunity to develop an awareness and understanding of integrating the business and education communities, explore and develop innovative instruction practices, and provide relevance while building a capacity to enhance student achievement. Through a mix of classroom learning activities and on-site learning in a workplace environment, educators enrolled in this course can expect to bring relevant work standards and experiences back to their classrooms for the benefit of their students. 

Innovation Grants
Innovation Grants are mini grants of up to $1,000 each, and allow YCAL the opportunity to fund innovative projects that support its mission to “engage students in career exploration and development.” At the core of the grant guidelines is the partnership of a business or community organization.

Student Programs

Career Readiness Education Workshop (CREW)
CREW exists to predominantly help students who have not yet determined their career or educational plan after high school graduation. Students will pre-select and attend their choice of three (of the 16) career cluster informational presentations delivered by a business or training partner associated with that industry. In the second half of the day, students are provided the opportunity to improve their networking skills and further explore their future by speaking with selected representatives from post-secondary education/training institutions, and potential school-to-work employers. In addition, students are provided an essential employment skills session to help students develop their employability skills.  This event is held at HACC-York Campus.

The Pre-Apprenticeship programs offer students the opportunity of a structured series of engagement programs that will help them in exploring career opportunities while building skills as they experience what an Apprenticeship Program would entail. The goal of this program is to assist students in making a well-informed career decision. YCAL offers multiple Pre-Apprenticeship opportunities through our training partners.

Career Exploration Programs
Career Exploration programs consist of 30+ different programs intended to create opportunities for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors to attend and explore a career path that may interest them. Hosted by a business partner that operates within the particular career, these programs are categorized as part of the Career Exploration Series (meeting after-school, multiple times throughout the school year) or the Career Exploration Day Programs which are one-day programs that typically meet during the school day.

Other Events

Annual Meeting and Recognition Reception
The Annual Meeting and Recognition Reception is held at the end of the Summer and allows YCAL the opportunity to recognize the many business and education partners, volunteers, and financial supporters that have assisted in the fulfillment of its mission. The event highlights accomplishments from the previous school year and also serves as a kick-off to the new school year, along with an overview of programs offered.

School Directors Dinner
The YCAL School Directors Dinner is held in the Spring to recognize school board members for their dedication and service to our schools and communities. YCAL takes this opportunity to recognize specific school board members for specific service year milestones. As part of the recognition program, YCAL will highlight at least one program to showcase to the board members in attendance.


"We invest in YCAL because of the direct, positive impact on the community. The organization’s programs produce fantastic results."

- Gene Draganosky, York Traditions Bank, President and Board Director

"My district partners with YCAL because YCAL provides our students with real learning opportunities for real life. Our students consistently tell us that their experiences with YCAL are often the single greatest influence on their choice of a career path."

- Dr. Scott Deisley, Red Lion Area School District, Superintendent

"The York Water Company supports YCAL because YCAL inspires curiosity in the students and educators who are drawn to its many programs.  Curiosity stokes the boiler of imagination, and imagination drives ingenuity and adaptability.  We rely upon an adaptive and agile workforce to sustain our 200 year old Company, and YCAL provides the opportunity for students to explore and hydrate their curious minds so that one day they’ll reinvest their talent right here in our community."

- JT Hand, The York Water Company, President and Chief Executive Officer