May 03, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La.-- The Louisiana Department of Education today announced it awarded more than a dozen Jump Start Summers grants to school districts and approved course providers that successfully established opportunities for nearly 300 high school students to earn academic credit, engage in workplace-based learning and attain critical industry-based credentials, all while earning a wage, during the summer months.
The Department introduced the Jump Start Summers initiative in April 2017, with the goal of providing school districts, charter schools and course providers with the catalytic financial support needed to launch multi-year summer workplace-based experiences for high school students and recent graduates. Twenty-four applications were received, and 13 were selected.

The inaugural group of Jump Start Summers grant recipients and their proposed programs include:

Grant Recipient

Program Description

Ascension Parish

15 students will earn their Electrician industry-based credentials (IBCs) at ABC-Pelican while working with multiple industry partners to complete work-based learning (WBL) and complete soft skill mastery exercises.

Bossier Parish

In partnership with Bossier Parish Community College, 20 students (including 10 students with disabilities) will complete construction industry IBCs and complete soft skill mastery exercises taught by industry experts.

Catahoula Parish

LaSalle Parish

The school districts submitted a joint application to implement a multi-faceted program that will serve 54 students. Students will earn important safety, customer service and automotive industry IBCs while mastering key soft skills.

Grant Parish

36 students will earn safety, customer service and skilled trades certification, while also earning WorkKeys certifications.

Jefferson Parish

St. Bernard Parish

St. Charles Parish

The school districts submitted coordinated applications to work with the Carpenters Training Fund of Louisiana, enabling students to earn Carpenter IBCs while mastering critical workplace soft skills. In addition, both Jefferson and St. Bernard submitted separate applications to offer customized opportunities for students with disabilities to gain practical workplace experience and master key workplace behaviors and communication skills. Together, these programs will serve 32 students.

Operation Spark

Two students will earn high-value information technology and coding IBCs, establishing the foundation for a program Operation Spark hopes to expand dramatically in future summers. Operation Spark is a course provider approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Rapides Parish

15 students will earn Welding IBCs, perhaps the highest-value construction IBC, while completing work-based learning opportunities and soft skill mastery exercises.

West Baton Rouge Parish

In partnership with Dow Chemical Company, 20 students will earn construction industry and safety IBCs while mastering essential workplace soft skills.

West Carroll Parish

Up to 50 students will complete advanced manufacturing IBC modules, as well as earn essential workplace safety IBCs and soft skill mastery exercises.

Winn Parish

30 students from throughout the parish will earn multiple industry-based credentials (customer service, safety, pollution controls) while mastering key workplace soft skills. Students will earn an incentive every time they attain a high-value IBC.

"The applications from districts, charter schools and course providers were highly creative, and promise to be sustainable," said State Superintendent John White. "Happily, many of the programs will focus specifically on recruiting students with disabilities, emphasizing the Department's commitment to ensuring all students have an opportunity to create the foundation for a successful career and adult life."
Jump Start Summers grant recipients will receive seed funding up to $1,000 per participating student to launch the inaugural programs, with the requirement that in-kind and cash contributions from industry partners at least match this seed funding. Student stipends for the time they spend learning and working will be contingent on their attendance and effort.
Jump Start Summers will also provide the chance for school districts and charter schools to earn accountability points by helping recent graduates who did not complete their preparation for adult life in high school earn industry credentials and master essential workplace behaviors and communication skills.
"Our school district is particularly enthusiastic about Jump Start Summers," said Winn Parish Superintendent Steve Bartlett. "We can offer our high school students-including high school students at our more rural schools-an unprecedented opportunity to complete high-value summer programs. These students will earn several valuable industry-based credentials. They'll master key workplace skills by engaging with workplace experts at their job sites. And they'll have the opportunity to earn a summer wage, including a bonus every time they attain a high-value credential. This is a program we'd like to see become a permanent part of the public education Winn parish students receive."
Funding for this year's Jump Start Summers program came from a combination of philanthropic donations and an allocation of the New Skills for Youth grant Louisiana won earlier this year as part of a national competition to fund innovative career and technical education programs. Louisiana was one of 10 states to win a $2 million New Skills for Youth Phase II grant, an endorsement of Louisiana's Jump Start program as a national leader in innovative career and technical education.
All Jump Start Summers programs will be held between May and July. After evaluating the success of these initial programs, the Department will seek continued funding for districts across the state to institute Jump Start Summers programs as a standard part of their educational offerings to public school students.
"We don't view this as a 'one-off' opportunity," added Superintendent White. "Our goal is for school districts, charter schools and course providers to offer students year-round work-based learning opportunities to enhance their academic achievement, complete their career preparation and build the foundation for successful adult lives. We view Jump Start Summers as a sustainable part of Louisiana public education."

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