Jan 21, 2015

Regional Teams, Districts, and Schools More Than a Year Ahead of Schedule for Full Implementation

BATON ROUGE, La. – More than 700 educators and industry employers gathered in Baton Rouge today for the state’s first Jump Start Convention, representing every district participating in one of 11 Regional Teams. Educators, including nearly 350 principals and counselors, along with industry leaders collaborated to learn how together they can prepare Louisiana students for a pathway out of high school that provides the promise of college and technical preparation toward a prosperous adulthood.

Jump Start is the state’s new initiative to provide students with basic and advanced career credentials that allow students to continue their education after high school. Jump Start is for all students. College-bound students can also earn industry-valued credentials. To achieve the Jump Start credential, students complete graduation pathways of courses and workplace-based experiences developed by Jump Start regional teams made up of industry, colleges, and school districts. Thousands of students in Louisiana are currently pursuing a high school diploma through one of 33 approved graduation pathways. Jump Start Regional Teams are currently developing 20 additional pathways to submit for approval.

“Every student deserves access to the American Dream. Jump Start expands students' pathways, offering them a boost into college or the workplace,” said State Superintendent John White. “Now the focus must be on building the plan to offer Jump Start to students and make their families aware of the opportunity.”

“Jump Start plays an integral role in Caddo’s overall mission to provide the best opportunities for all of our students,” said Caddo Parish Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree. “Every child deserves to have the best programs at their fingertips to allow them to be competitive not only locally, but nationally. Jump Start quickly has become a signature component of our district’s future plans. Additionally, the program sets the stage for our district to provide our community with highly-skilled and qualified individuals who take pride in the work they are doing.”

“Associated Builders and Contractors is a big supporter of Jump Start and high school student career education in general,” said Al Bargas, president of the Pelican branch of ABC. “Over the last two years - and especially with the implementation of Jump Start - we’ve seen better, smarter support of career education in Louisiana than ever before.”

Business leaders delivered an overview of the economic trends in Louisiana – where the jobs will be – so district and schools can help students master the academic and technical content necessary for them to live here in Louisiana with great careers. Additionally, those in attendance participated in breakout session to learn the specifics about preparing schools and students for Jump Start implementation. Those session included information on:

  • Developing, Funding, and Implementing Career Counseling – defining what career counseling is, and how students benefit from effecting counseling in terms of both college and career.
  • Developing/Sharing Regional Capacity in High-Cost Construction Craft Training – examining how to utilize funds to help high school students graduate with NCCER welding and electrician certifications.
  • Implementing the New Generation of Career Readiness Courses – overview of how Regional Teams are developing Career Readiness courses, starting as early as middle school, with curricula targeting age-appropriate materials and skill readiness.
  • Implementing Steps for Offering Credentials at the School Level – a review of each type of industry-valued credential, and how students can attain the appropriate culminating credentials to graduate using different types of graduation pathways (statewide, regional, and integrated).

“The Jump Start initiative provides pathways for high school students to take career courses, earn workplace experiences and to become credentialed in high-demand, high-wage jobs,” said Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol. “We feel this initiative is especially important for Ascension Parish students as we live and work in area rich with business and industry career opportunities, many of which reside on or near the Mississippi River. Several of these businesses and those who provide services to them are planning to expand or have expanded, adding extra capacity and opening up numerous job opportunities.”

“I’ve been a district Superintendent, a teacher, and for many years the Director of Education and Training at ABC-Pelican. Jump Start is something that Louisiana students have needed for generations - a way to reward schools for helping students attain industry-valued credentials that will help them get high-wage jobs out of high school,” said Robert Clouatre, Associated Building and Contractors. “Successful Jump Start students will continue to earn credentials and college degrees while they earn terrific middle class wages. We’ve needed Jump Start for a long time - but the good news is it looks like Jump Start will benefit Louisiana and our high school students for generations to come."

“We’ve collaborated extensively with our business community to implement Jump Start in Northwest Louisiana,” said Gayle Flowers, Director of Career, Adult, and Alternative Education for the Caddo Parish School Board. “Jump Start gives schools and teachers the incentives we deserve when we do a great job preparing students to be successful, employed adults. We are confident Jump Start will help schools in our region and across the state live up to the promise of offering a great career pathway for every student."

“The best part about Jump Start is that it is challenging us to do more for students than ever before,” said Mary Wilson Arrasmith, Coordinator of Career & Technical Education for West Baton Rouge Schools. “Jump Start has given us the funding and the freedom to create upgraded Career Readiness courses for middle school and high school students. These courses will help students understand what’s unique and great about themselves, and give them the skills they need to find and hold great jobs.”

“We see Jump Start as a very positive development for young people in Louisiana,” said Ben Bordelon, President and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards. “Our business, like so many others in Louisiana, requires skilled labor. We have job openings that can and should be filled by young Louisianans, but we often have to go far outside our state to find individuals with the necessary skills and credentials. We’re confident that once Jump Start takes root, students in our Bayou Region and across the state will be able to learn the academic skills and earn the industry-valued credentials they need to be productive members of the Bollinger Shipyards team."

"When we first heard about Jump Start we were concerned we didn’t have the resources or the business community support here in the Delta region to give our students the opportunities students in other parts of the state have,” said Georgia Ineichen, Supervisor of Vocational Programs for the Richland Parish School Board. “The good news is we’ve learned we can implement Jump Start in our region in a way that’s best for our students and schools. We’re getting support from industry stakeholders in our region. We’re even exploring online links to industry experts anywhere in the United States. It’s clear that Jump Start will help our students prepare to become productive adults with rewarding careers.”

During the next two schools years, districts will develop instructional capabilities, instructors will become credentialed to help students achieve industry certifications, and students will have the option of graduation through the Jump Start Graduation Pathways. Full implementation of Jump Start will begin in the 2017-2018 school year.

For more information on Jump Start, please click here.

For more information on approved Jump Start Graduation Pathways, please click here.

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