Career Education Renovation Proposed For Louisiana

A proposal in Louisiana would remake career and technical education offerings, potentially affecting 25,000 students, according to state Superintendent of Education John White.

Jump Start is the name of the proposal and would involve school districts, tw- year colleges and private firms forming regional teams that will offer workplace training for high school juniors and seniors. Students will spend some of their school days in workplace training, such as welding or electrical work. The program will help students earn experience so that they are qualified for jobs after high school ends.

For years, the state’s career education program  has been criticized for not preparing students for jobs. White said, “In the past, I’ve handed out high school diplomas to students without knowing where they are headed. And they are facing a world that demands they be skilled and have credentials to validate those skills. We can do better.”

It seems that previous efforts in career and technical education have failed. Out of all students in high school, only 1% earn a career diploma.

Changes to the program have been discussed for the past year, with hearings around the state. White said that, “aside from some similar components, he is not aware of any other state with a similar program.”

The state currently has about 700,000 public students, which include 75,000 high school juniors and seniors. The overhaul is going to take place in the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

White said that “the initial roll-out is likely to attract hundreds of students, and then up to 25,000 within the next several years.” Grants up to $75,000 are being offered by the state for teams of school districts, colleges and businesses that start the roll-out of the program early.

Whether a student plans to start a career after high school, or attend a community college or a technical college, they can still take the Jump Start classes. Jump Start graduates can get jobs in construction, engineering, manufacturing, energy, transportation and health care.

Those who want to earn a career diploma would have to follow the Jump Start curriculum.