Officials from Baton Rouge Community College and East Baton Rouge Parish School System formally signed a proclamation to launch the Early College Academy. Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Dr. Willie Smith and EBR Schools Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise signed the proclamation, surrounded by Early College Academy students, community leaders and supporters.
The Early College Academy is being piloted with freshmen and sophomore students from Broadmoor High School. The degrees offered during the first year are in information technology with either application developer or networking and vehicle maintenance technology.
Plans to expand the Early College Academy in the types of degrees offered and the number of high schools will be determined and implemented through the 2020-21 school year. The agreement between EBR Schools and BRCC to create the Early College Academy was officially signed in March, just prior to the shutdown of the region due to COVID-19.
“When we think of the future of our community, it’s incredibly important to consider the ways in which we can truly invest in our young people as early as possible,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith. “This partnership and proclamation will allow Baton Rouge Community College to make a necessary educational investment in high school students, affording them the remarkable opportunity to work towards extremely relevant professional certifications and degrees while pursuing their high school studies. We are grateful to be able to serve our community in this way and very much look forward to continuing to expand this program as we learn from our pilot year. We are incredibly thankful to the EBR School System, along with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Career and Technical Education Center for partnering with us for this program.”
“Over the past two years, the EBR Career and Technical Education Center has provided high school students with high-wage, high-demand career training opportunities that allow them to directly enter the workforce or continue with post-secondary education,” said EBR Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise. “In addition, the students have also gained valuable internship experiences and long-term employment with our community partners. Our district is grateful for the collaborative partnership with LCTCS, BRCC, BRAC, BRAF and our CTEC Board of Directors as we expand our programing to incorporate the Early College Academy piloted at Broadmoor High School.”
Additional supporters participating in today’s signing ceremony included Baton Rouge Area Foundation Executive Vice President John Spain who offered a brief history on the collaboration, and Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp, who discussed the economic impact of the Academy and program on the region.
In 2005 a collaboration among EBR Schools, BRCC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and leading business, industry and healthcare organizations developed the idea of the EBR Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC). This program and its building were specifically designed to offer high school students the opportunity to earn advanced credentials and dual enrolled college courses in the high-wage, high-demand workforce needs of the Capital region. CTEC opened in 2018 with a vision to expand the college course offerings to allow students to earn their Associate’s degree while in high school. To make this vision a reality, leaders in EBR Schools and BRCC began working through the details to develop the Early College Academy.