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Preparing high school grads for the future

Updated: March 25, 2013 6:24AM



High school graduation levels are on the rise, but the Quality of Life Education report is concerned that graduates aren’t adequately prepared for life beyond the classroom.

Preparing Northwest Indiana’s students for jobs that are in demand is a key theme of the Quality of Life Education report. The report states that prospective job applicants need to have more than a general level of education; in particular, students need to have analytical and communication skills, along with access to specialized training.

In 2010, the average high school graduation rate in Northwest Indiana was 84.8 percent, slightly higher than the statewide average of 84.5 percent. It was nearly a 10 percent jump from 2006.

Schools are trying a variety of strategies to connect students to careers before they even get to high school.

The report specifically mentions READY NWI, or the Regional Education/Employer Alliance for Development Youth of Northwest Indiana, that aims to develop a regionally developed learning system to support student college and career access and success. The partnership is helping to create a college and career assessment, and it is developing a variety of opportunities for students such as job shadowing

By 2025, the partnership aims to create a talent pool for Northwest Indiana employers where 60 percent of the labor force has a post-high school credential aligned with the needs of employers.

An increasing number of high schools offer dual-credit classes, where students can fulfill a high school course requirement while earning college credit. As a result, students can enter college ahead of the game. They can graduate early, or broaden their field of study by adding a minor or concentration and still graduate in four years. The classes also help acclimate students to the level of coursework they can expect in college, and may eliminate the need for students to pay for remediation classes once they enter school.

Several local school districts have revamped their schools into specialized academies or the school-within-a-school concept.

Both Calumet High School and the Gary Career Center house the New Tech High School model, which aims to link students with cutting-edge technology and help them build critical thinking skills by solving real-world problems.



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