College & Career Readiness

Jump Start

Louisiana’s most promising work-readiness initiative is Jump Start. Under the leadership of State Superintendent John White, the Louisiana Department of Education established Jump Start in 2014 to better prepare public school students to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills required for employment. Jump Start programs fulfill and replace Career and Technical Education (CTE) areas of concentration by prescribing the academic preparation and CTE courses and training experiences by which students will meet the requirements to attain a high school diploma and earn industry credentials.

Jump Start programs are designed to prepare students to earn statewide industry-based certifications (IBCs) aligned with high-growth, high-wage job sectors as approved by the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. Pathways preparing students to earn statewide IBCs are augmented by regionally-relevant CTE programs jointly developed by local stakeholders and approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Thus, Jump Start prepares participating students to participate in high-growth, high-wage and regionally-relevant job sectors while also enabling them to continue their post-secondary education and career development.

Credentials are provided at two levels:

 (1) Basic Statewide Credentials indicate that a student has attained a basic proficiency with an industry-valued skill set recognized by the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. An example would be a student completing a college-level course aligned to TOPS, the state-financed college tuition scholarship program, or which earns a NCCER Welding Level 1 certificate.

(2) Advanced Statewide Credentials indicate that a student has attained advanced industry-valued skills. An example would be a student earning college credit in a college-level course aligned to TOPS or earns a NCCER Welding Leveling 2 certificate.

Students who earn a Basic or Advanced high-demand industry-based credential earn from $3,000 to $8,000 more in starting salary than students in lower-demand industry sectors.

While nearly half of high school graduates in Louisiana are earning a credential during high school, this opportunity is not being experienced equally by all students. Economically Disadvantaged students, African Americans, and Students with Disabilities have less access to college or career opportunities than their peers.

Louisiana is expected to fully implement Jump Start by the start of the 2017-2018 school year. In January 2017 the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JP Morgan Chase announced that Louisiana was one of 10 states to receive a three-year, $2 million grant through phase two of the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant program to strengthen and expand career-education pathways. The phase two grant funds will be used to expand Jump Start through stronger employer engagement and expanded pathways that lead to student success.

To ensure that students make the best possible career choices and course selections, both students and parents must be well-informed about career options. In 2015 the Louisiana Department of Education launched  All Things Jump Start (http://www.louisianabelieves.com/courses/all-things-jump-start), a new online portal to give student and teachers greater access to career counseling and career education resources. Among these are online systems such as Nepris (www.Nepris.com), Kuder Navigator (www.KuderNaviagor.com). In addition, Career Compass, a Louisiana non-profit organization, works through local districts to provide career counseling to students.

Louisiana is expected to fully implement Jump Start by the start of the 2017-2018 school year. In January 2017 the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JP Morgan Chase announced that Louisiana was one of 10 states to receive a three-year, $2 million grant through phase two of the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant program to strengthen and expand career-education pathways. The phase two grant funds will be used to expand Jump Start through stronger employer engagement and expanded pathways that lead to student success.

To ensure that students make the best possible career choices and course selections, both students and parents must be well-informed about career options. In 2015 the Louisiana Department of Education launched  All Things Jump Start (http://www.louisianabelieves.com/courses/all-things-jump-start), a new online portal to give student and teachers greater access to career counseling and career education resources. Among these are online systems such as Nepris (www.Nepris.com), Kuder Navigator (www.KuderNaviagor.com). In addition, Career Compass, a Louisiana non-profit organization, works through local districts to provide career counseling to students.

Work Based Learning

One of the more effective strategies for preparing youth to earn certified skills in high-growth jobs sectors is the use of work-based learning (WBL) programs. These could include paid or unpaid internships, on-the-job training programs, apprenticeships, and other models. WBL is training that is employer-based — taking place while the youth or young adult is working directly with the employer and/or receiving classroom instruction or training in order to gain skills that would lead to certification and permanent employment. Work-based learning programs rely on partnerships between businesses, community-based organizations, local workforce development boards, and secondary/postsecondary schools to provide needed support services.

Many successful work-based learning programs are operated by an intermediary, and entity that functions as the employer of record – hiring the youth and assuming all responsibility for insurance and workers’ compensation. The intermediary also brings all key stakeholders together to plan the startup and operation of the WBL program. One of the most successful intermediary models is the Manufacturing Careers Internship Program (MCIP) operated by Business and Career Services, Inc. in Northeast Illinois. At MCIP, youth participate in a four-week boot camp session, where they learn soft skills and job preparation training and receive OSHA-10 and forklift credentials. After boot camp, participants enter and eight-week paid internship program with an employer. A video of the MCIP program can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue6NBCeNZxw.

Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that workforce development boards spend at least 20 percent of youth funds to support “work experiences” for out-of-school youth 16-24 years old. Expanded workplace experience opportunities are also an objective of the Louisiana New Skills for Youth Phase II Grant.

Whether the WBL program is provided by an intermediary or directly by an employer, the success of the program requires extensive employer engagement.

 

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