• 90°

School to Career conference set

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 25, 1998

RESERVE – Business and community leaders and parents of high school students will gather late Thursday afternoon to learn what kind of training is necessary after students graduate and exactly what jobs exist for them in the River Parishes.

The River Parishes Education Initiatives is sponsoring a free School to Career Conference focusing on career opportunities and job training from 4:30-8 p.m. at East St. John High School. Seventh- through 12th-gradersare invited but must be accompanied by an adult.

Mary Lynn Alltmont, RPEI member and manager of the LaPlace area office of the Louisiana Department of Labor, said the targeted audience is geared towards parents and small businesses but not narrowed down to only the parents of students who aren’t college-bound.

“It’s a thing geared toward everybody regardless of what they want to do after school,” Alltmont said. “It’s for kids who want to be doctors as wellas those who want to be technicians.””School to Career is a statewide effort to prepare today’s young people for a career in the 21st century,” Lily Galland, RPEI president, said.

“Throughout the United States and Louisiana, School to Career partnerships are forming to re-engineer education to assist students in preparing for a career and further learning.

“School to Career recognizes that it is not necessary for every child to obtain a college degree. But we must recognize that the basics ofeducation, the flexibility to continue to learn and the need for a variety of skills and experiences is critical as the workplace enters an era of changing technology.”Alltmont hopes parents who attend will learn what training is necessary for the careers their children want to pursue.

“For parents we are hoping they will get the understanding that Johnny or Janie is going to need some education or training beyond the high school level and talk about the jobs that are available in the community and discuss the training that is needed for them,” Alltmont said.

The focus for small businesses, Alltmont said, is to encourage teacher and student job shadowing programs so students will either learn for themselves or from their teachers exactly what jobs are available in the community.

“It’s great for the teacher to bring it back to the school,” Alltmont said, “because they really have no clue as to what’s out there for them.”Alltmont said local plants are very involved in these shadowing programs, and she hopes the conference will encourage more small businesses to jump on the bandwagon.

“We need more small and medium size businesses involved,” Alltmont said.

Alltmont and the rest of the RPEI members are planning for 300 to attend and hope their first attempt at a School to Career Conference will be a huge success.

“We think people are excited about it,” Allmont said. “I’ve had some callsat my office from people who want to know more about it.”Participants in the conference include Barbara Ferguson, attorney for the Louisiana workforce commission; Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry; Dr. Tim Ryan, dean of the Universityof New Orleans College of Business Administration; Dr. Joseph Savoie,superintendent of the Board of Regents of Higher Education; and Chris Weaver of Gov. Mike Foster’s office.Discussion topics include “Law and Liability,” “Education Reform,” Careers of the Future,” “How Small Businesses Can Get Involved in School to Career” and “What is Business/Industry Looking for Employees.”Presentations and exhibits by Louisiana area technical colleges and universities are also scheduled.

A dinner of jambalaya and white beans will be served. For moreinformation, or to make reservations for the free conference call 1-888- 755-2552.

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