Virginia’s bold plan to build a high school-to-career pipeline

This is worth a look. Virginia is dramatically re-envisioning high school education in order to provide an improved career pathway for those who don’t pursue a bachelor’s degree.

The first two years would still teach core classes. Then, students would have the choice of three tracks: one that prepares them for a four-year college, one that prepares them for a two-year community or technical college, or one that allows them to graduate with certification in one of several industries. These industry certifications will be partly informed by local business needs. Additionally, internships and apprenticeships would count for school credit.

The plan is still just that – a plan – at this point, but it has bipartisan support from the Virginia legislature and the governor. If approved, these changes would go into effect for the 2018 school year.

Various schools in Virginia have already created independent career-readiness programs, but the new law would institute this approach statewide. Denbigh High School in Newport News, for example, operates theAviation Academy where students can learn how to fly and maintain planes. Canon offers apprenticeships around the Virginia Peninsula, and Ford has sponsored career academies as well.

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