Career education is getting a jump start for some school districts eager to revitalize technical education and career services. In Louisiana, schools, colleges and businesses are working together to ensure that students can compete with the right technical skills for top paying jobs.
“It is time we remove the stigma of career education, state Superintendent of Education John White said Tuesday evening during a public forum on the plan.
The revamp, which is called Jump Start, is touted as a way for school districts, colleges and businesses to re-energize career and technical education, and ensure that students have the technical skills to land what economic development officials call a wave of top-paying jobs in Louisiana.
Backers contend the overhaul will give students more time to decide on careers or college, offer additional and improved workplace and industry training during high school, and better fund classes that, White said, generally cost more than traditional literature and other courses.
“We have to revitalize, we have to resuscitate, we have to give the system a jump-start,” White told superintendents, other educators and business leaders who gathered at Baton Rouge Community College.
The public forum on Tuesday was one of the final gatherings after nine months of statewide discussions.
Similar meetings are set for Wednesday in Alexandria, Thursday in Lake Charles and Jan. 30 in Bossier City.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is set to act on parts of the plan at its March meeting.
The state Department of Education, in documents that accompanied the plans, noted that one in four high school students fails to graduate and that, of those who do, only 28 percent obtain a two-year or four-year diploma.
“Simply put, too few young adults in Louisiana have the skills and credentials to assume the high-wage jobs offered in today’s Louisiana economy,” the department documents say. “Missing from this picture is a different choice for students and families; a state-of-the-art system of career and technical education.”