Los Angeles Unified is among the recipients of a new federal grant touted by President Barack Obama as key to efforts to enhance partnerships between schools and the business world.
The district will receive $7 million under the Youth CareerConnect program, which Obama outlined in his 2013 State of the Union address as a way to encourage schools to enhance programs that incorporate real-world work experience with academic work.
Los Angeles will use the money to expand career preparation programs in high-demand fields such as health care, biotechnology and finance, officials said Monday. The money will help bolster STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – career preparation programs at three high schools and business and finance programs at three others. Students in the programs take coursework that’s closely linked to their chosen field, and participate in internships and job shadowing to gain practical experience.
“The old model of technical trade schools had a negative stigma, but today’s students need to enter into the workforce with 21st century skills and linked learning really connects what is happening in the classroom with what is happening right now in the working world,” said Paul Hirsch, principal at Helen Bernstein High School, one of the campuses that will benefit from funding, in a statement. “We can help our students enter into doctorate programs and certificate programs like lab technicians, radiologists and lab assistants. Those solid middle-class job opportunities are what our students need most.”
Los Angeles Unified is one of 24 school districts, community colleges and other educational groups nationwide that will share $107 million in Youth CareerConnect grants.
The Los Angeles campuses and programs that will receive funding are the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math pilot program at Helen Bernstein High School; the Sylmar Biotech and Health Academy; health information and technology at Manual Arts Senior High School; business and tourism at Miguel Contreras Learning Center; international business and trade at Phineas Banning Senior High School and the Responsible Indigenous Social Entrepreneurs (RISE) pilot, which encourages neighborhood and small business development, at Augustus Hawkins Senior High School.
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