PAIU advocates for Pennsylvania's 29 educational service agencies, called intermediate units (IUs), and the schools and students they serve. With no direct funding in the state budget, IUs are highly agile and entrepreneurial in striving to meet the needs of the schools in their regions. They anticipate and respond to local needs by providing programs and services to students, teachers and school administrators, as well as serving as the "boots on the ground" for many state initiatives under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Since they serve such a unique role within the commonwealth's education system, PAIU educates on intermediate units' roles and services and provide advocacy efforts on behalf of our members statewide.
PAIU provides a number of opportunities for IU leaders and their staff to participate, learn and grow in their service to schools and students. Executive directors meet regularly to share best practices, solve problems and develop policy goals. PAIU's extensive Job Alike Group network serves as a professional hub for IU staff sharing like roles and responsibilities across the state to receive professional development, share ideas and grow their knowledge and field of practice.
PAIU also offers its signature Aspiring Leaders program each year, where a cohort of up-and-coming IU staff leaders are selected to participate in a year-long leadership development program that aids in preparing them to take on cabinet- and executive-level positions at intermediate units. The program gives participants a window into the executive leadership level, the ability to see how other IUs and their offerings may differ from their own, and includes a built-in mentorship component.