Feb 26, 2014

Proposal Includes $375,000 in Start-up Grants for Teams of Schools, Industry, and Colleges

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Department of Education today released the final proposal outlining Jump Start, the state’s new program for school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students, certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs.  Students participating in Jump Start will be provided more time during the school day to achieve industry-based certificates or college credentials in addition to a high school diploma.  These state-approved credentials earned through Jump Start will qualify students to continue their studies in college or begin a professional career upon graduating high school.

The final proposal comes after a draft proposal was posted for public comment in January. Jump Start has been in development since spring 2013 and involved four statewide tours and dozens of public meetings.

To ensure students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and industry professionals, industry leaders, higher education, and local school systems will create private-public partnerships called Jump Start Regional Teams.  The Department will award Jump Starting Jump Start grants, ranging from $25,000 to $75,000, to qualifying Jump Start Regional Teams to help in the launch of certification programs in statewide graduation pathways identified by the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council.  The Jump Starting Jump Start grants are available to districts in regional teams wanting to invest immediately in innovative career course curricula and other initiatives critical to the success of Jump Start for the 2014-2015 or 2015-2016 school years.  The initial competitive, paperless grant process will run from March 10 through April 2.

“Every young man and woman in Louisiana deserves a pathway to a middle class career and wage as an adult, so that they can provide for their families,” said State Superintendent John White. “Those pathways will vary. Jump Start is about opening up the pathway of career education, community colleges, and workplace experiences, so that students can continue their education after high school and attain the skills they need to be successful."

“Addressing Louisiana workforce development needs while expanding career opportunities for our high school students is a win-win,” said Chas Roemer, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education president. “Our state currently faces a shortage of skilled workers for many job opportunities.  When students can develop skill sets to match industry demand, it not only prepares them for the job market, it helps Louisiana overcome a major obstacle to business growth.”

For the last 10 months, Superintendent White hosted regional forums to receive feedback from hundreds of educators, parents, and industry leaders.  Based on that feedback, Jump Start includes:

  • Regional Teams:These private-public partnerships, made up of school systems (and charter schools) and their governing authorities, two-year colleges, local industry, and economic and workforce development experts, will have two primary responsibilities: 1) design plans for providing courses and workplace-based experiences leading to WIC-approved, statewide credentials; and 2) identify regionally-relevant career opportunities, course pathways and culminating credentials.


  • Accountability Rewards:Previously career outcomes have not been rewarded at the highest levels.Jump Start changes this by establishing specific rewards for career credentials at every level of the high school accountability system, along with additional points available for students excelling in both academic and career coursework.


  • Funding:The MFP Task Force issued two proposals supporting Jump Start: 1) double the career education funding weight for courses in high-growth, high-wage fields from 6 percent to 12 percent; and 2) recommending a subsidy for districts enrolling high school students in BESE-approved career courses and college credit courses outside of the high school.


  • Changes to Teacher Credentials: The Department will train career educators statewide at summer academies to receive professional credentials that will be required in five years for all career educators. The Department is also proposing changes to teacher certification policies to facilitate industry professionals’ entry into teaching positions, giving greater credit to workplace experience and expertise and providing essential training on instructional strategies.

Changes to the Jump Start proposal since its original release in January include:

  • The Jump Starting Jump Start grant program


  • Development of a Jump Start Regional Team guidebook, a step-by-step manual for forming and operating regional teams.


  • Development of specific rewards in the high school accountability system for students who achieve high marks in both two-year college and four-year college pathways while still in high school.

"Jump Start offers districts and schools the unique opportunity to provide students the ability to earn credentials that will enable our young people to move into high-wage, high-demand jobs upon completing high school,” said Patrice Pujol, Superintendent of Ascension Parish Schools.  “These credentials require our students to demonstrate high levels of both technical and academic skills in order to meet the new demands of the workplace."

“Business owners are so grateful to hear of the Jump Start implementation.  Clear language and easy navigation within the manual will help regional teams form and develop proposals,” said Charlotte Bollinger, Executive Vice President of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc.  “Best of all, school districts will finally be able to reward academic and career credential achievements.  This will make all the difference in engaging students to follow their own pursuit of happiness.  It is the business community’s best hope for helping us find good workers for excellent jobs.  We are grateful to Superintendent White for his thoughtful leadership in getting these innovative and timely ideas accomplished.”

“The linkage between all systems of education and business & industry is imperative to address the human capital needs of Louisiana,” said Dr. Lisa Smith-Vosper, Louisiana Board of Regents Associate Commissioner for Workforce, Education, and Training.  “To this end, the Jump Start Initiative is extremely beneficial to our state.  As we’ve partnered in this endeavor, our collective role is to inform educators at all levels, parents, and students about the varied pathways that lead to success, fulfillment, and a life of self-sufficiency. It is through Jump Start that we have a common understanding of career education and have calibrated how we reward each pathway equally to advance college and career education and workforce preparation in Louisiana.”

“This initiative is not only an innovative idea to better prepare students for higher education, but also for the needs of the current and future workforce in Louisiana,” said Bubba Rasberry, manager of Crestview Woods, L.P., a timber, land, and minerals company, and current chairman of the Louisiana Board of Regents.  “The Department of Education is putting focus where it needs to be – and that’s getting our students the skills and knowledge that prove crucial to the next phase of their lives whether that is entering the professional workforce after graduation or pursuing a college degree.”

For more information on Jump Start and to view the appendices for the final Jump Start Proposal, please click here.

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