The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has brought the Learn Do Earn (LDE) program to New Jersey. Reinforcing its message to students, "Learn more now. Do more now. Earn more later.," LDE encourages students to build a strong academic foundation to prepare for work, school and life. Like a challenge? Then read on about how LDE can prepare you for great success after high school, whatever path you choose.
While the American Diploma Project will result in tougher requirements (see Advice 101 article, "High Goals in High School") students who like a challenge can start taking harder classes and expecting more from their high school performance right away. It means more work now...but, hey, it also improves your chances for head-spinning success.
The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has brought the Learn Do Earn (LDE) program to New Jersey. Reinforcing its message to students, "Learn more now. Do more now. Earn more later.," LDE encourages students to build a strong academic foundation to prepare for work, school and life. Thanks to corporate sponsorship, the program is offered free to schools. LDE offers a suite of online programs that pushes kids to complete high-demand courses, be punctual, learn computer technology, be financially literate and do more math.
Sounds good in theory—but does it work?
Joseph Kirk, 17, is a Learn Do Earn believer, and a success story. Joe is a senior at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, where he is gearing up for a college education and career in international finance and economics. He first got involved with LDE's online programs during his sophomore year, after his teachers and school principal explained the necessary criteria available to those students willing to work a little harder during high school. Joe started off tackling the Technology Challenge, an LDE program that assesses and improves your ability to use common business software like word processing and spreadsheets. He took online tests to assess his skills and to better understand the technology that will help him in school and the workplace. Once he earned that credential, which is generated through his teachers, he went on to pursue other LDE credentials, such as School Counts, which stresses grades and attendance, and State Scholar New Jersey and World Class Students, which require students to take a more rigorous selection of classes in high school. How do the various programs work? Let's take School Counts, for instance. Basically, a survey of more than 600 business presidents and chief executive officers in New Jersey found that the most important traits needed by entry-level employees are:
1. Attendance and Punctuality
2. Oral Communications Skills
3. Ability to Work in a Team
4. Written Communications Skills
5. Technical Skills
As a result, students who want to earn the School Counts NJ credential must achieve a "C" or above in all academic courses, except Algebra II, Chemistry and Physics. If you take Algebra II, Chemistry and Physics, you must at least achieve a passing grade; maintain a 95% or better attendance and punctuality record; complete high school in eight consecutive semesters; and take more courses than defined by the minimum graduation requirements. Students who achieve all these goals are designated as School Counts Students and given a certificate of achievement to use with college applications and on job interviews.
School Counts has been particularly helpful for Joe, who was often absent from school during his freshman year. "School Counts requires that you be in school at least 95% of the time," Joe explains. "When I was a freshman, I was slacking off, not realizing the importance of everything. I was absent in the double digits the first year. After I got involved with this School Counts program, I realized how important school is. It makes you want to go to school and take your classes. It's very motivating."
Joe has been spotlighting his LDE credentials as he makes his way through the college-application process. His first-choice schools are Seattle University and American University, where he hopes to study international economics. "I would like to work for the government or for a company as an economic advisor," Joe explains. "And eventually I'm interested in international real estate. I'd like to get involved with an agency and even start my own one day."