The News-Star, Monroe, La., on Jump Start having potential:

March 10
The News-Star, Monroe, La., on Jump Start having potential:
In recent decades, the idea emerged that a college education is the only path to success in the world of work.
High school students have been given the opportunity to take part in dual-enrollment programs to get a head start on college. But that ignores the emerging trend in high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree but do require specialized training and certification. And it ignores the students who don’t feel college is right for them.
The Louisiana Department of Education has unveiled a program that is intended to bridge that gap. Jump Start was approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last week.
The program will allow high school juniors and seniors to spend about half their day in traditional academic courses and the rest of the time learning what was known in the parlance of past decades as a “trade.”
And some of these trades offer students earning power that is sometimes equal to or even greater than that of their college-bound counterparts.
This is a step forward in education and one that recognizes the needs of the modern workplace.
These courses will train future electricians, welders, construction workers, nurse assistants, among other skilled workers. Some of the course offerings will also offer dual enrollment and thus, college credit.
Gone are the days when a high school graduate could go out and find a job that would support a family — without job training, that is. Jump Start is aimed at providing the kind of training and certification upon graduation that would allow many high school graduates to do just that.
The program will most likely be up and running in some areas by the fall, with full statewide implementation by school year 2016-17.
Only time will tell how Jump Start will be received and whether it will succeed in its ambitious goals.
But, as the state gears up for an expected boom in jobs over the next few years, it seems like a sound and pragmatic approach to career education that has the potential to make thousands employable, right out of high school.
And that would be a plus, any way you look at it.

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