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Morning Sun
  • District to receive $19,000 for career readiness program

  • Career readiness has been a major focus for USD 250 Superintendent Destry Brown for some time, and the district has been aggressive about creating those opportunities for students.

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  • Career readiness has been a major focus for USD 250 Superintendent Destry Brown for some time, and the district has been aggressive about creating those opportunities for students.
    “There are a few programs that are really near and dear to me,” Brown said. “Our career and technical education is one of them.”
    Brown said he would like to see every student graduate high school ready to step into some type of skilled job.
    These programs weren’t created with the idea that they would pay off, but the district will receive a $19,000 check Thursday morning for its career readiness certification program, which is part of a push by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
    “If they finish with the certificate, they (the state) would pay the district $1,000 for each kid,” Brown said, adding that 19 students completed certification in three different programs, meaning the state is giving the district $19,000 to reinvest in career-readiness programs.
    “It will go back into vocational programs to help pay for development of programs for the kids,” Brown said.
    This is the first year that the state is offering this particular program, but the program has been running at USD 250 for a few years now.
    “This year we’re really getting rewarded for the programs we already had in place,” Brown said.
    USD 250 information officer Zach Fletcher added that 12 students received certified nurses assistant certificates, three received certificates in masonry and four in carpentry.
    All three programs are offered in partnership with Fort Scott Community College.
    “The community colleges have the two-year programs that are specifically partnered with this program,” said Brown, who added that Chanute and Baxter Springs also partnered with local community colleges and will receive $21,000 and $11,000, respectively.
    Brown said the money rewards districts for helping students prepare for life after school.
    “It rewards us for getting kids through a specified program that, at the end, they can go out and use to get a job,” Brown said.
    “The state pays the community colleges the tuition directly,” he added, noting this means any student can participate regardless of ability to pay. “It’s available to every kid.”
    Brown said he hopes to see participation grow and also sees additional programs, such as culinary arts or a machinist certification, in USD 250’s future.
    “We need to help develop skills to help them go out and get good jobs,” Brown said.
    He added that even if that job isn’t one the students do long-term it can be a fall-back skill, provide an opportunity for a summer job or help pay a student’s way through college.
    “Really, it came out of the community more than anything,” Brown said. “The need for employees - there is a shortage of employees for the skilled labor force.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Brown said he sees the programs continuing, gathering even more interest, becoming a focus for younger students to work toward and eventually helping to change the poverty dynamics of the region.
    “It all comes around to whether we are preparing kids with job skills,” Brown said.
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