Aug 31, 2017

Nearly 300 High Schoolers Statewide Participated in Paid Internships, Earned 445 Industry-Based Credentials in Program's First Year

RAYVILLE, La. - Dozens of education and community leaders today gathered to celebrate local high school students who completed the state's inaugural Jump Start Summers program. Those students are among nearly 300 Louisiana high schoolers statewide who earned academic credit, engaged in workplace-based learning and attained critical industry-based credentials, all while earning a wage, during the summer months as the result of the new initiative. 

"Nearly 50 students from West Carroll Parish earned advanced manufacturing course credits and attained their Certification for Manufacturing (C4M) industry-based credentials this summer," said West Carroll Parish School System Superintendent Richard Strong. "Many of those students also earned their Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA-10) and First-Aid certifications. These hands-on, eye-opening experiences helped our students build skill sets that will benefit them no matter which path they pursue after high school."

Kinley Smith, a sophomore at Forest High School who attended the event, is among those students.

Smith, who earned her C4M and American Heart Association-CPR certifications, said the Jump Start Summers program experience allowed her to "work with credentialed instructors and tour industry facilities, such as the Sapa Extrusions plant."

Statewide, results were just as positive. Among the highlights, Jump Start Summers programs:

  • Enrolled 261 students from across the state including students with disabilities;
  • Guided 251 students, 96 percent of participants, to complete their paid internships;
  • Awarded 304.5 total academic credits and 445 total industry-based credentials to participants; and
  • Provided 143 participants the opportunity to earn multiple industry-based credentials in skilled trades, information technology, automotive, and advanced manufacturing, among others.

"We are encouraged by the achievements of the students who participated in the first Jump Start Summers programs, and we look forward to expanding opportunities for all students in the future," said State Superintendent John White. "Workplace-based learning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to master essential workplace behaviors and communication skills, while making their academic schoolwork more relevant. This is true for all students--those who are university-bound, as well as those who are career-focused."

The Louisiana Department of Education 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, paid summer workplace-based experiences for high school students and recent graduates. A Request for Applications was released at that time, and 11 school districts and one approved course provider were awarded 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 that amount. The state's portion was generously funded by the JP Morgan Chase New Skills for Youth Grant and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. 

Every district and provider that implemented a summer program this year indicated they hoped to again in 2018. They reported participating students benefitted from the opportunity to more intensely focus on attaining credentials in a work-life setting. University-bound students were able to earn credentials outside the academic pressure of the school year, and students with disabilities were given the chance to fully engage in the experience. In addition, the districts and provider were able to collaborate with their peers and build relationships with local industry leaders and community volunteers.

For full details on the overall success of the program, click here.
For more information on All Things Jump Start, click here.
For news and updates about Jump Start, follow the program on Twitter @JumpStart4LA.

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