BATON ROUGE, La.— The Louisiana Department of Education announced plans to expand its Jump Start Summers initiative, allowing nearly 2,000 high school students the opportunity to earn academic credit, engage in workplace-based learning and attain critical industry-based credentials, all while earning a wage, during the upcoming summer months. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on Wednesday will vote to approve 46 new program providers across the state. “Workplace-based learning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to master essential workplace behaviors and communication skills, while making their academic schoolwork more relevant,” said State Superintendent John White.
“This is true for all students—those who are university-bound, as well as those who are career-focused.” Jump Start Summers helps high school students prepare for college, career and life success by giving them the opportunity to attain high-demand, industry-based credentials in their areas of career interest, master essential workplace “soft skills,” and earn academic credit during the summer. All students participating in Jump Start Summers programs engage in a work-based learning or job shadowing experience with an industry partner and earn a wage based on attendance, engagement and achievement.
The program also provides school systems the chance 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. It is funded by Supplemental Course Allocation, which gives school systems state money to offset the high cost of high school credit courses. The Department launched Jump Start Summers in 2017. In its inaugural year, 11 school systems and one course provider were approved to participate, and 261 students across the state enrolled. Ninety-six percent of students enrolled completed their paid internships. They earned a collective 304.5 academic credits and 445 industry-based credentials in skilled trades, information technology, automotive and advanced manufacturing. Forty-six providers, 10 of which participated in the inaugural year, are recommended for approval for the summer of 2018. These providers, if approved by BESE, will offer students opportunities for academic credit toward a Jump Start Career Diploma, the earning of state industry based credentials, job shadowing and/or internship opportunities, and stipends for student participation.
The proposed programs will last an average of four weeks, serve a total of 1,922 students, and the average stipend amount will be $605. The proposed programs focus on work in the fields of automotive, business, construction, culinary arts, health care, hospitality, tourism and retail, information technology and manufacturing. “The Jump Start Summers program is another great opportunity for us to connect young people to experiences that support their progress toward becoming qualified for entry-level work opportunities,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander. Ascension Public Schools was an approved provider in the program’s inaugural year and has applied to participate again.
“We appreciate the effort of everyone involved in making this a priority for our young men and women. It is a win for all, as it benefits students, provides solutions for workforce needs and is recognized for districts and schools relative to the graduation index.” “In the program’s first year, we partnered with Ascension Parish to help current students and recent graduates obtain workplace experiences and industry-based certifications,” said David Helveston, President of the Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.
“After completing the Jump Start Summers program, these students are ready to begin careers in the construction industry or to continue their education. We hope to expand our partnership so that more students have this great opportunity.”