LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Graduation for JCPS seniors is just days away, and many are finalizing their plans for life after high school.
Some will become the first class of students to participate in the state's "Everybody Counts" program, first announced by Gov. Andy Beshear in November of 2021.
"Everybody Counts" helps JCPS seniors connect with three different pathways to success – a job at one of four participating companies, postsecondary enrollment or both.
Companies sponsoring this program include Ford, GE Appliances, Kroger and UPS. Nonprofit, higher education and labor partners include Evolve502, Louisville Urban League, Simmons College and UAW Local 862.
JCPS teachers said the program, rolled out midway through the school year, will provide a great new option for this year's seniors and future graduates.
"Our job as educators is to make sure our students are prepared for life after high school," Sara Able, from Fern Creek High School, said.
"There's stuff to do after, but now it's like you don't have school anymore, so what do you do next?" senior Trinity Richie said.
Richie is one of the first students taking advantage of the program. Next year, she'll be attending classes at JCTC and working in operations at GE Appliances.
“I’m not really a social person, but I wanted to learn how to be social on my own and also learn how to save up money," she said. “Responsibility for sure. Because I know that it’s a serious job, so you can’t be calling out and coming in late and being a no call no show.”
Katina Whitlock, GE Appliance's Senior Manager for Community Engagement, said "Everybody Counts" opened up a new pipeline of career ready candidates.
"I think they're curious so as a manufacturing company that's what we're looking for. There are so many opportunities," she said.
Whitlock said the company already hired 16 JCPS students, and has another 17 in the hiring process. They also still have positions available.
Able said her students have been enthusiastic. After the pandemic, they've been focused on crafting a solid foundation.
"Kids are really aware of the job aspect of it, making sure they do have job opportunities waiting for them," Able said. "We know we've prepared these students as best we can so we're excited what the future holds for them."
Many of the companies are still in the process of hiring students.
Saturday, May 21st, is the program's signing day.
JCPS students who have accepted positions will be recognized. Company representatives will also be available to provide on-site job offers. Evolve502 and KHEAA (Work Ready Kentucky) will present scholarship and FAFSA assistance.
The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21st at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.