(Photo from Hattiesburg High website)
The effort is being funded through a $1.5 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Education.
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has awarded the University of Southern Mississippi $1.5 million to launch a new Going Beyond Apprenticeship Program for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students in Hattiesburg Public Schools.
The funds, which will be divided evenly over four years, are being provided through the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program.
The partnership between Southern Miss and Hattiesburg High will deliver a service-learning integrated apprenticeship for up to 30 students, including immersive educational opportunities in areas such as STEM/robotics, construction careers and early childhood education.
According to a release on the grant award, participants at Hattiesburg High School will gain academic and technical skills in addition to work experience as they undergo 150 hours of professional development training, 40 hours of service-learning, and 450 hours as apprentices with approved community partners during their junior and senior years.
Students in the program will design and implement service-learning projects under the mentorship of career coaches in addition to gaining access to workshops and applications to assist with ACT preparation and leadership qualities.
Jennie Noonkester, student services coordinator for the Hattiesburg CTE program, said the opportunity will help students as they pursue careers and higher education.
“I look forward to watching our CTE and Work Based Learning students thrive in the workplace because they were given this opportunity for academic and social growth,” said Noonkester in a statement. “We hope students will gain more confidence in their abilities, develop industry networks for future job placement, and build advanced career skills. Connecting with USM at this phase in their education will also be beneficial in helping reduce any fears they may have about pursuing higher education.”
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