Fifteen educators from the North Capital Region Jump Start program received Career Development Facilitator certificates at a ceremony May 4 at Bains Lower Elementary School in St. Francisville.

The members of the NCR Jump Start team are from East Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana and Zachary school systems, which formed as a collaborative group to address the educational needs of the area. The team received $125,000 in grants for career counseling initiatives in the four respective school districts.

The goal of the Jump Start program is to help high school students develop the skills and credentials necessary to help them secure high-wage jobs offered in Louisiana. They do this through career courses and workplace experience.

The program is in various stages of implementation around the state and includes 12 regional teams representing 52 school districts, including the NCR team.

The group receiving certificates included five members from West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee, four from East Feliciana and one from Zachary.

Those receiving facilitator certificates were Margaret Anton, West Feliciana; Aiman Bayoumi, Pointe Coupee; Josie Butler, East Feliciana; Michelle Clayton, Zachary; Mico Cooper, East Feliciana; Alva Franklin, East Feliciana; Michelle Genre, West Feliciana; Jonathan Henslee, West Feliciana; Myrtle Hurst, East Feliciana; Lisa Jarreau, Pointe Coupee; Kristis Langlois, Pointe Coupee; Kimberly Martin, Pointe Coupee; Jason McCray, West Feliciana; LaTosha Nelson, Pointe Coupee; and Paul Theriot, West Feliciana. Certified CDFs have received 120 hours of career development-related training in 12 core subject areas from a certified CDF instructor. They also received national certification through the Center for Credentialing and Education, a subsidiary of the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Malka Edelman, of the National Career Development Association, conducted the training.

“They didn’t know what they were getting into when they got started,” said Edelman, noting the NCDA curriculum was developed in the mid-1990s. “The original intent of the program was to develop frontline people to enhance and improve the quality of services throughout the country. The program is global, and we are in Nigeria, China, Beirut, Taiwan, Dubai, Turkey, Japan and Korea. We’re making a difference in a lot of places. We’re helping children make better choices. There’s a huge brotherhood throughout the world.”

Beside training, the grants also will help create workplace exchanges, and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber has partnered with the region to coordinate summer externships for teachers and field trips for students.

The NCR leadership team includes Zanovia Curtis, West Feliciana; Robin Variest, East Feliciana; Karla Jack, Pointe Coupee; and Clayton and Tim Jordan, Zachary.