Maryland counties regularly work with the local community colleges to develop training programs suited for the local job market and in recent years, there has been a new focus on introducing high schoolers to programs that promote their job preparedness, evidenced in the Maryland Legislature’s implementation of Maryland’s College and Career Readiness Standards and its reforms to the dual-enrollment system.
Joplin, Missouri, however, has taken another step towards preparing its high school students for the workforce. In rebuilding after a 2011 tornado, Joplin took the opportunity to develop and implement a “Career Path curriculum” with help from school, community, and business representatives that centers on core foundational knowledge and skills, plus the soft skills employers demand from their employees.
As reported by the US Department of Education, Secretary Duncan noted how this school represents the future of education,
Referring to his previous visit three years ago, Secretary Duncan spoke of how he left inspired and full of hope, and that he is not surprised at Joplin’s dramatic recovery. “In that one day [in 2011], I had some sense of the fiber and character of this community,” he said.
“It would have been much easier to build a high school that just built upon what was here in the past. This community decided that the children of Joplin deserved something much better. So they built a high school not for yesterday, not for today, but for tomorrow. In blending vocational education and college education, [and] making sure we’re not tracking children into one path or another, but giving them the option to develop for college and for careers.”
Going forward, many of Joplin’s graduates will enter college with two years of college credit under their belt, saving students and their families thousands of dollars in tuition.
“This is a vision of what high schools all across America should be doing and can be doing.”
For more information, see the complete blog post from the US Department of Education.