LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - They're known for their vehicles, but Tuesday members of the Ford Motor Company Fund centered attention on Jefferson County Public Schools.
Although a snow day rendered classes canceled, students and staff alike, turned out to Southern High School Tuesday morning.
"We're thankful that Ford has partnered with JCPS," said Ocey Holland, a senior at Southern High.
It was a moment more than 18 months in the making; one community members, district staff and even city leaders have been anxiously awaiting.
"I'd like to officially designate Louisville as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community," said Cheryl Carrier, director of Ford Next Generation Learning.
The designation is shared with only 15 other communities nationwide. The partnership included a $100,000 grant courtesy of the Ford Fund, America's Promise Alliance, and Ford Next Generation Learning.
As a Ford Next Generation Learning Community, the Jefferson County Public School district will follow a three-year master plan created by more than 90 community leaders in hopes of strengthening career-themed programs at the district's 15 5-star schools.
"The chemistry teacher and a math teacher work together with one of the technical teachers to build a project," said Rick Delano, a Ford Next Generation Learning consultant. "It's that relevance being introduced into the academic courses, which is the goal of Ford Next Generation Learning."
The goal is that the combination of academics tied to technical learning will in turn boost college and career readiness. School officials felt the opportunity provided a win for JCPS and potentially for the city of Louisville as well.
"What an impact this will make," said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens.
"We have to have a workforce that's ready," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "What Ford's Next Generation Learning program pulls together for us is all these type of skills that we read about in the paper every day, that we face in our own workforce, that we deal with when we recruit companies to town."
To help facilitate the process, Ford officials will provide ongoing guidance to ensure technical learning, like Southern High School's fully equipped automotive shop and student-run federal credit union, continue depositing pupils more prepared for college and careers.
To learn more about the Ford Next Generation Learning Community program, click here.
Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard