Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear launched a new program on Monday called “Everybody Counts,” where seniors from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will receive assistance in choosing one of three academic or vocational tracks: a college education, employment at participating companies, or both.
The program establishes a partnership with Evolve 502, Louisville Urban League, and four of Louisville’s largest employers — Ford Motor Company, GE Appliances, Kroger, and UPS — to ensure that the Class of 2022 at JCPS have stable plans for the future.
“If we want to grasp our destiny as being an economic leader — as not being the flyover state but the destination — we have to ensure we don’t lose a single person, that we take everybody’s value and ensure that those options … is there for every single student,” Beshear said during a press conference.
JCPS students can expect to receive materials explaining their higher education options and employment opportunities by February 1.
Full Speed Ahead
The announcement follows Evolve502’s new scholarship program which provides funding for qualified JCPS students to enroll at Kentucky Community and Technical College schools, as well as Simmons College of Kentucky, for two years tuition-free.
According to JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, this year’s seniors may be the only group of high school students in the US offered full-tuition scholarships and full-time jobs.
Academy at Shawnee student Jalelia Wydman expressed how thrilling the chance is to get closer to her dream of becoming a pilot.
“I feel like the opportunity of giving us a job after high school and paying for our tuition will most definitely make us, I don’t know, it’s very unspeakable right now. It’s very exciting,” she said.
The governor summed up the timeliness of the initiative by saying, “Waiting is not an option,” Beshear said. “There are too many young people who deserve this same opportunity at the end of this school year as we’ll be able to provide at the end of the next school year.”