- The Washington Times - Monday, April 7, 2014

President Obama announced Monday a $7 million grant to Bladensburg High School, part of a larger effort by the administration to help U.S. students catch up with the rest of the world in college and career training.

The Bladensburg award, which the president unveiled during a speech at the school Monday morning, is a piece of the Youth CareerConnect grant program. The $107 million initiative is meant to “deliver real-world learning opportunities for students,” the White House said.

Specifically, Mr. Obama said the program will help American students be prepared for their first job.

“We asked high schools to develop partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on real-life applications for the fields of the future, fields like science and technology and engineering and math,” the president said. “And part of the reason we’ve got to do this now is because other countries — they’ve got a little of a lead on us in some of these areas.”

To meet the president’s goal, Bladensburg High School has designed new medical programs for its students.

Biomedical students, for example, can earn college credit from the University of Maryland and also will have access to specific career counseling for their field.

Mr. Obama said such an approach is vital in the 21st century.

“Our high schools, a lot of them, were designed with curriculums based on the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s and haven’t been updated,” he said. “So the idea behind this competition is how do we start making high school in particular more interesting, more exciting, more relevant to young people?”

In addition to Bladensburg High School, the Los Angeles Unified School District is getting a $7 million grant to build “career academies” at six high schools across the city, the White House said.

The New York City Department of Education will receive nearly $7 million to fund new “early college high schools” that offer associate’s degrees to students still in high school.

Other schools and outside groups, such as the Denver School District and Jobs for the Future, also will receive grants.



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