ULM launches new workforce development program for high school students

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 10:18 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The University of Louisiana at Monroe was awarded funding to help the next generation of professionals.

Delta Regional Authority awarded ULM with $1,074,510 for a workforce development program as part of the federal government’s Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities initiative.

ULM’s grant will fund a high school business academy where high school students can earn up to 18 college credit hours where they can take courses in entrepreneurship, management, marketing, and accounting.

“It’s not just for kids who want to go to college, it’s for students who want to be job-ready once they graduate high school. Maybe they want to pursue a two-year degree or a technical degree or come to ULM," said ULM President Dr. Ron Berry.

Students can also gain valuable internship experience with small businesses across the state.

Right now it’s in its pilot stages with Carroll, Wossman, and Neville High Schools in Monroe. One Carroll High School parent says it will give her senior a great advantage.

Fonda Kline’s daughter attends Carroll High School and has previously worked with the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce. Kline says ULM’s new academy will give her daughter a jumpstart on her college career too.

“She’s been a part of that three years, three consecutive years and she’s also had an opportunity to do Chase leadership just last year so this is something that she’s been gearing herself up to be able to transition into college and have a leg up," Kline said.

Berry said he’s looking forward to the new opportunities for students and businesses alike.

“We hope this becomes embedded in the high schools and it becomes a part of their jumpstart program which then they can begin receiving additional funds and that would allow us to maintain this program moving forward,” Berry said.

The new program will include 11 parish school systems, Louisiana Delta Community College, Workforce Investment Board 81 and 83, NELA Chapter of the Society of CPA’s, and ULM faculty and staff.

The High School Business Academy will be taught by ULM faculty and high school faculty. The hybrid program will include in-person and virtual learning and mentoring.

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