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Curriculum to Career: New High School Grad Paths Point to a Paycheck

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 01 Nov 2011 06:43pm | comments
Students at Clinton High School Vocational Center use elective hours to learn a trade.

Mississippieighth graders will chose a career next spring. From the Southern Education Desk at MPB, Annie GIlbertson reports that choosing a career interest is only step one in the Mississippi Department of Education's plan to get these same students to graduate high school and enter the workforce with relevant education experiences.

Hollis Myric is an 11th grader in Building Trades I at Clinton High School Vocational Center. He says he didn't used to take core classes like Science very seriously, but then he learned many of them will help him in a career as a welder.

Myric: “Well I used to think Science didn’t have anything to do with it.  But today we learned about electricity so it does have something to do with it.”

Myric says he is doing his best now over at the high school partially because he can see it will lead to a better paycheck down the road.

The Mississippi Department of Education hopes its new Individual Career Achievement Plan program helps other students make that curriculum to career connection as well.  Basically, guidance counselors will offer students a roadmap based on career interests and aptitude.  Students will still be required to take core classes like English, Math, Science and History, but will be able to tailor choices within core and elective requirements to better fit their interests.

And it's not just about making class meaningful to students. Mike Mulvihill of the Mississippi Department of Education says the new graduation pathways also aim to make students valuable to industry.

Mulvihill: “If you take a look at manufacturing firms that have moved into Mississippi, they are high skill, high demand jobs.  This is almost a workforce development process too.”

While there are graduation pathways that cater to highly-motivated students – those with college already in mind –many of the pathways are intended to attract at-risk students to stay in school.  Students can also change their minds and try-on a different career.

So far, the Individual Career Achievement Plan is only in the introductory stage.  Mulvihill says developing electives to match various industry needs will likely be costly, but online courses and partnerships with community colleges are expected to help offset those costs.

From the Southern Education Desk, for MPB News, I'm Annie Gilbertson.

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Students at Clinton High School Vocational Center use elective hours to learn a trade.


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