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East Baton Rouge Parish allowing high school students to jump start careers before graduation

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BATON ROUGE - At Glen Oaks Magnet High School, a new cohort of ninth-grade students will get a head start on a college degree.

"When we get into college, we'll be juniors," said Lauren Hayes, a student at Glen Oaks.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System, local business leaders, and Baton Rouge Community College have teamed up to give more students early access to college courses and a way to get training for a possible job.

"It's hard at first during the first couple of classes, but when you catch on, it's pretty easy," Hayes said.

It's part of a program called 'Pathways to a Bright Future.'

The program allows high school students to earn an Associates Degree or an Industry Based Credential along with their high school diplomas free of charge.

EBR Schools Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse says the program is not just about education but also community transformation.

"It's important that people know that if we transform our school system to connect with our city, we'll transform our city. Our crime rates will go down, things will go really well, and we'll also be in a place where people love to live," he said.

"Now that they can leave high school with a high-value credential or a degree and get a good-paying job, it will propel them in the workforce," Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Willis Smith said.

According to EBR Schools, about 75 students are currently enrolled in this program.

Ninety-seven percent are already on track to earn college credit.

Click here for more information.

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