The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is expanding the Jump Start Summers program, giving more than 3,000 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 their summer break.
“Workplace-based learning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to master essential workplace skills, while making their academic school work more relevant,” State Superintendent John White says. “This is true for all students—those who are university-bound, as well as those who are career-focused.”
Launched in 2017, Jump Start Summers brings together school system and industry leaders to provide students with the opportunity to complete paid, on-site job shadowing and internships. Students who participate in the program earn academic credits and industry-based credentials, and receive a stipend for the sessions they successfully complete. They also build soft skills, like the ability to communicate, manage time, or work with a team, that are essential in the workplace.
In the summer program’s first two years, 48 providers enrolled 1,792 students. Students who completed their programs earned a collective 1,676 academic credits and 1,998 industry-based credentials.
Fifteen additional providers have been aporived, bringing the total number of active providers to 59 and programs offered to 166. The available programs are aligned to high-demand career fields, such as manufacturing, construction, drone operation, automotive repair, business, culinary arts, health care, information technology and hospitality, tourism and retail. The average stipend amount will be $690.
“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,” says Jody Purvis, who oversees instruction for Livingston Parish Public Schools. “Students can use these classes to advance their certifications and experience toward an industry-based diploma, or they can simply gain valuable life skills.”
Rose Espiritu, a software engineer specialist at General Electric Power agreed: “The Jump Start Summers program opens up access to high-demand career pathways, like software development, to students across Louisiana by introducing them to the cutting-edge skills, knowledge, and real-world experience that employers are looking for.”
The expansion of Jump Start Summers comes as education and industry leaders explore the evolution of the state’s Jump Start program. The Louisiana Department of Education recently released for public comment a blueprint, Jump Start 2.0, that outlines the future of the premier career and technical education program.