Louisiana has an Education Advocate in the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) has long been a supporter of strong education initiatives. The chamber’s devotion to promoting excellent education has never been more apparent than now, when education ranks as one of its top priorities for 2010. Advancing economic development in the area is greatly helped by the strategic choice to implement regional learning initiatives. Called The Campaign for a Greater Baton Rouge, BRAC plans to use this 5-year community learning campaign as an economic development tool.
One of the most important components of this campaign is the chamber’s efforts to spur the creation of a career academy in the Baton Rouge area. Recognizing that the Louisiana workforce has a clear need for trained workers to fill a variety of jobs, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber is seeking to align the region’s K-12 education system and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System with Louisiana’s workforce needs. Better educated students turn into better-prepared workers who can use the knowledge and skills fostered in a career academy to do their job better. The Career Academy will design all classes and curricula around current and future job needs, thereby tying together diploma and certification preparation with industry demands. Students will take state-of-the-art technical and occupational courses that will not only be eligible for college credit but will also translate easily into postgraduate studies. The Career Academy has been approved by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System as a charter school administered by the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators (LRCE), a premier nonprofit organization with a proven track record of training teachers and implementing innovative strategies in education. The Career Academy will be funded with public, private and nonprofit funds. While plans are under development for a world class facility, the Career Academy will be housed within the LRCE building in Baton Rouge for the 2011-2012 school year.
BRAC has been an active partner throughout the development and implementation of the Career Academy, from application approval process to interviewing for a top school leader. BRAC will continue to engage the business community and others to meet the needs of the students and workforce challenges to retain and attract highly skilled employees to the region.
“Championing education has been one of BRAC’s most important pursuits,” says Gwen Hamilton, director of education reform at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Establishing a Career Academy for high school students is another critical step toward a comprehensive approach to developing a learning community.”