IPS launching plan to get kids ready for workforce, focused on careers

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is launching a new plan to get students focused on a career path and ready for the workforce by graduation.

The district will introduce seven Career-themed Academies within the high schools in the 2018-2019 school year.

IPS plans to close three or four high schools; administrators will announce which schools later this week. At the remaining schools, students will be expected to focus not just on their general education but also on a career path.

Some IPS students are already focusing on careers.

A month after Jonathan Garmany graduated from Arsenal Technical High School last year, he landed a job as a welder at Indiana Steel Fabricating, Inc.

“I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m prideful about what I do,” Garmany said. “I can tell people, I make tall buildings. I can tell people that if you’ve been in a newly built hospital recently, I probably built some beams in that building.”

So what sparks that passion?

Garmany credits an IPS program that allowed him to learn welding while in high school. IPS now plans to expand the career-based programs, according to the district’s director of Career and Technical Education, Ben Carter.

“There’s a huge demand in our region for these high-wage, high-demand career opportunities,” Carter said.

Starting in 2018, IPS will introduce seven career-themed academies within the high schools.

“Now we’re finding that we really need to change the mantra from university for all for university to — let’s find the right choice for students and it’s college and career, versus just college,” Carter said.

Students will work on career-themed projects, and they’ll visit local companies to see hands-on work.

The IPS graduation rate jumped from 72 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016. School leaders said the graduation rate is 91 percent for IPS students who work in Career and Technical Education programs with six or more credits.

“A lot of students aren’t motivated to graduate because they don’t have a true plan for after high school,” Garmany said. “If there were more vocational training in high school, they’d be more motivated because they’d know they’d be getting well-paying jobs right out of high school.”

All students will still study the general education topics they study now.

Carter said the career academies will “really start up” in the 10th grade. He said students will begin exploring career paths in the seventh grade.

District leaders said, for some students, the seven academies might not be the right fit. IPS will also offer other programs for those students.

The seven academies include:

    • Health & Sciences
    • Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics
    • Teaching, Learning & Leading
    • Construction, Engineering & Design
    • Business & Finance
    • Information Technology
    • Military

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