BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education today released for public feedback a blueprint that outlines the future of career and technical education in Louisiana. The blueprint, called Jump Start 2.0, builds on the state’s nationally recognized Jump Start program by reducing the stigma attached to career education and by ensuring every student graduating with a Career Diploma is fully prepared to succeed in a high-wage, high-growth industry.
Launched in 2014, the Jump Start graduation pathways aim to prepare students to lead productive adult lives, leaving high school capable of securing high-wage, high-demand careers or continuing their education. Students are required to attain industry-based, industry-valued credentials aligned to one of 51 approved pathways in order to graduate with a Career Diploma. Jump Start may also be utilized as an elective path for students pursuing a university preparatory diploma.
Prior to Jump Start, fewer than two percent of students graduated with a Career Diploma. Today, more than one in five students graduate with a Career Diploma. Similarly, the number of industry-based credentials obtained by Louisiana students has skyrocketed, from 17,885 in 2014 to more than 90,000 in 2018.
“Jump Start has fundamentally changed the opportunities available to young people in Louisiana,” said State Superintendent John White. “However, it remains the case that too often those credentials are not translating into full-time employment after high school, youth unemployment remains high, and many high school graduates do not have concrete plans for their future following graduation. The release of the blueprint helps us map out how we can better serve students who as adults will need a toehold in the economy.”
According to the blueprint, Jump Start 2.0 will catalyze a new era of learning, in which:
- Every Jump Start Career Diploma student graduates having demonstrated success in the workplace, preparing them to work in a high-wage, high-growth industry. Louisiana will do this by increasing access to high-quality workplace-based learning; focusing on the most valuable credential opportunities; and better aligning pathways to high-wage, high-demand career clusters.
- Every Louisianan knows and values the Jump Start Career Diploma path as fluently as the TOPS University path. Louisiana will do this by actively celebrating students and schools seeing success; launching a new, interactive Jump Start website tailored to students and families; and investing in professional development for career and technical education leaders.
- Community leaders create systems that bridge education and employment, without state intervention, throughout Louisiana. Louisiana will do this by streamlining the current regional governance teams who oversee Jump Start; piloting new governance structures; and supporting new models that extend Jump Start experiences beyond 12th grade.
The release of the blueprint comes after BESE tasked the Department with evaluating how Jump Start offerings aligned to regional workforce needs. The Department produced a report showing the program, while equipping students with more credentials than ever before, was not providing students experiences in the high-wage, high-demand jobs available in their region. Of the top industry-based credentials earned in each Jump Start region in Louisiana, the report found, only three of those top 15 credentials were in true alignment.
In response, the Department collaborated with education and business leaders statewide to draft the blueprint for the future. The Department is now seeking feedback on that document from all stakeholders with a vested interest in career and technical education in Louisiana. A public feedback form is available online now through March 15.
After the public feedback window has closed, the blueprint will be updated and publicly shared at the April 2019 BESE meeting. Any changes to Jump Start necessary to realize the final blueprint will be implemented with sensitivity to the needs and commitments of students, schools, and school systems. Where feasible and reasonable, some changes may be implemented as early as the 2019-2020 school year.