Whether a student intends to go to college after graduating high school or wants to enter the workforce, the Iberville Parish School Board has a curriculum to fit each student’s needs.

“The goal with all of our students, whether they’re on the traditional pathway (to college) or the jumpstart pathway (toward a career in a trade), is to ensure that they leave us with something in addition to their diplomas,” Superintendent Arthur Joffrion, Ph.D., said.

To reach that goal, the School Board approved a plan about five years ago to provide for a variety of curricula so that students can leave high school prepared for college or to enter a trade through its Diploma + Plan, or Jumpstart programs.

Showing its commitment to the concept, the board hired a supervisor of career technical education and instructional technology, Candice Breaux.

She said students who elect to make a career in a trade have a multitude of options through the plan, including training in welding, pipefitting, certified nursing assistant (CNA), emergency medical responder, instrumentation, electrical or other avenues.

Some of the classes leading to certification in these areas are taught at the schools while others are opportunities students have by taking evening classes at River Parishes Community College. One of its campuses is next door to Plaquemine High School.

“These are all considered skilled crafts,” Breaux said of the choices available to the parish’s students. “When they complete one of these curricula, they leave school with a certification.”

“We also offer jumpstart options in the business and informational areas,” she continued, enabling high schoolers with the opportunities to get certifications in Adobe, a company that makes graphic arts and photography programs, or microenterprise through the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We also have a few students who are working toward certifications in online computer aided drafting,” Breaux said. “That program is in its infancy now.”

Construction crafts are offered through the National Center for Construction Education Research, adding to the options available to students.

“Our students have a variety of opportunities to earn certifications,” she said of passing the requirements needed to immediately enter the students’ chosen career path.

“So if a child doesn’t want to go to college, we want them to have some sort of certification,” Joffrion said, most of which can lead to high-paying jobs. “We’re very lucky here in Iberville Parish.”

“If there is a child who wants a job in construction, in business, in industry, in manufacturing, they will have the appropriate skills through these programs,” he continued. “They walk out of high school with the opportunity to have a job paying 15 or 20 dollars an hour.”