High school program opens careers

A thousand juniors and seniors at Education Achievement Authority high schools in Detroit can earn free college credit and paid job apprenticeships while still in high school beginning next month, officials announced on August 1.

Starting with the new school year in September, the Education Achievement Authority will launch a new career and technical education program that will help students earn college credit for free and obtain paid job apprenticeships while they are still in high school.

Education Achievement Authority Chancellor Dr. John Covington said the bold new initiative is the result of a partnership between the organization and the U.S. Department of Labor, the Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., Henry Ford Community College, Wayne County Community College District, and Focus: HOPE.

Students who will be juniors and seniors in the upcoming school year at Denby, Henry Ford, Mumford, Pershing and Southeastern high schools in the Education Achievement Authority can begin applying immediately for the 1,000 openings in the new career and technical education program by contacting their school. Students also can apply at enrollment fairs to be held at the high schools, and every Education Achievement Authority school, on Saturday, August 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“As Detroit families continue to fight to improve their livelihoods and the future of their children, Detroit must continue to create jobs and create a workforce that is ready to do those jobs,” Dr. Covington said. “This new program will help provide a thousand students a chance to earn college credit at no cost to them while they are still in high school and help them win paid, long-term employment in a related field of study. This effort can make an enormous difference in the lives of Detroit families.”

 

The Education Achievement Authority will begin its second year of operating schools on September 4. The organization was established to take over and turn around persistently failing schools, and now operates 15 schools in Detroit. Education Achievement Authority schools saw strong academic growth in the 2012-13 school year, and the new career and technical education program is “a huge step toward preparing our students for success in higher education and the workforce,” Dr. Covington said.

Some of the course offerings in the new program include automotive service technology, renewable energy, accounting, video game design and animation, website design, criminal justice, and career readiness training. Students will be offered morning or afternoon class schedules at Wayne County Community College, Henry Ford Community College, or Focus: HOPE. The students will have free meals daily, and transportation between their high schools and the colleges where they will be taking the courses will be provided.

The U.S. Department of Labor will work to arrange companies to employ students in long-term apprenticeship programs, where the students will work with seasoned employees in anticipation of earning long-term employment after the apprenticeship. Detroit Employment Solutions will provide career readiness training for students at the high school campuses.

Students will apply for college admission while still in their junior or senior years at high school and will begin earning college credit as they move though the program, earning from 24 to 60 college credits over the course of two years. The colleges will provide the courses, faculty and student services.

The students will have an opportunity to stay in their apprenticeships until they complete high school. Wages for the student apprentices will vary by company.

The new Education Achievement Authority budget for the 2013-14 school year, approved in June by the EAA board, set aside $2.3 million for the program, including about $400,000 for transportation of students. The program will be funded primarily through the Education Achievement Authority’s general fund budget.

Focus: HOPE officials said they will hold engineering and information technology classes at the organization’s Detroit campus.

“We want to help make sure that Detroit high school students truly are college bound and career ready, and we’re happy to be a partner in providing this new high school experience,” said Focus: HOPE CEO William Jones, Jr. “With more than three decades of experience in job training for high demand careers and helping Detroit students achieve a college education, we’re proud to be a part of this collaboration with the EAA in helping Detroit students to achieve great things.”