Following a vote by The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), the Jump Start Summers program has been approved for expansion. Consequently, over 3,000 high school students will be able to utilize their summer break to earn school credits, take place in workplace-focused learning, and gain business experience, while simultaneously earning an income. For completed sessions, students receive a stipend which averages at $690. In regard to the Jump Start Summers program, John White, the State Superintendent, stated, “Workplace-based learning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to master essential workplace skills, while making their academic school work more relevant. This is true for all students – those who are university-bound, as well as those who are career-focused.”
Jump Start Summers was created in 2017 with the intention of connecting school systems and business leaders to positively impact students and prepare them for the workforce via shadowing and internships. Along with school credits and work knowledge, participants will also develop important life skills such as communication, time-management, and the ability to efficiently work in a team – all of which are crucial for career-building. Jody Purvis, a supervisor of instruction for Livingston Parish Public Schools remarked, “The Jump Start Summers program offers our students a great opportunity to explore their interests in a career and technical education course that they may not be able to fit into their regular class schedule. Students can use these classes to advance their certifications and experience toward an industry-based diploma, or they can simply gain valuable life skills.”
During the program’s first two years, 1,792 students participated through 48 providers. Cumulatively, the finishing students earned 1,676 school credits and 1,998 business credentials. Following the vote to expand Jump Start Summers, 15 more providers were approved, bringing the number of offered programs to 166. These programs are affiliated with high-demand job areas, including drone operation, mechanical repair, business, construction, culinary arts, health care, IT, manufacturing, and hospitality. Software engineer specialist Rose Espiritu of General Electric Power maintains that “the cutting-edge skills, knowledge, and real-world experience” earned by students via the Jump Start Summers Program are pivotal to the initial entrance to these “high-demand career pathways.”
The Louisiana Department of Education released a blueprint called Jump Start 2.0 to gain public feedback. In the blueprint, the intentions of the Jump Start Summers Program are outlined. The outline affirms that Jump Start Summers will “catalyze a new era of learning.” This entails that all Jump Start Career Diploma student will graduate high school with workplace experience which will prepare them for work in high-growth industries. The blueprint also expresses the intention for Louisianans to be as familiar and fond of the Jump Start Career Diploma plan as they are with the TOPS University path. They will achieve this by “actively celebrating students and schools seeing success” from the Jump Start Summers program in its current, emerging stage. Finally, Jump Start 2.0 aspires for leaders in various communities in Louisiana to create systems that connect education and employment with no state intervention. To achieve this, regional teams supervising Jump Start Summers will increase their efficiency, and Jump Start will work to expand activities to age groups beyond the 12th grade.
Students who wish to inquire about participating in Jump Start Summers should contact the leaders of their schools for additional information on the program.
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