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Kent ISD launches CareerPrep 2030 initiative

Kent ISD — About 40 Kent County school, community and business leaders came together recently to discuss and brainstorm ideas that will be used to develop a vision for the future of Kent ISD students and the West Michigan economy through career tech education.

Leaders sat down May 17 at the Kent Career Tech Center for the inaugural CareerPrep 2030 meeting and work session to share their thoughts on how to connect students to potential careers, help grow the local business economy, and build a pipeline of local talent to help fill current and expected employment vacancies.

“Today was the first meeting of a community group of business leaders, community leaders and educators to really discuss how we can make education more exciting and engaging for all of our students,” said Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Koehler. “A big way to do that is to increase career awareness and training opportunities, because that creates relevance for students who may not be engaged in their traditional content.”

While six out of every 10 students who graduate from Kent County area schools are in college one year after graduation, information about the others is not known. For many of those students, career exploration and training can provide direction and clarity on how their education will benefit them in the future.

Work on the project is expected to continue through early 2024, at which time the group will work with the community to help make the CareerPrep 2030 vision a reality.

“Our working goal is to double the percentage of students who will have an opportunity to participate in state-approved career training opportunities, because what we know about students who do that is that they’re more likely than the population as a whole to graduate, and they’re also more likely to succeed in college because they had a purpose that’s applied to their education,” Koehler said.

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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