Tennessean Highlights L.O.O.P. Program in Recent Article
Thanks to the Tennessean for highlighting our L.O.O.P. program in a recent article!
"JACKSON, Tenn. — Savannah Simmons hopes to become a forensic scientist. To get there, every school day she puts on a pair of safety goggles and works, not in a laboratory but in a manufacturing plant. And when the 17-year-old North Side High School student arrives at Stanley Black & Decker for her job, she stays for her classes. She is part of a unique educational initiative known as the Local Options and Opportunities Program, or L.O.O.P.
At Stanley Black & Decker, a select group of teens work four hours a day out on the manufacturing floor stocking the assembly line and sorting tool parts. The other half of the day, they work on algebra, biology and English lit — in a classroom built right inside the manufacturing plant.
The program goes beyond traditional internships or job shadow experiences to provide real-world experience in a better-than-minimum-wage job. With buy-in from the local business community, this unique partnership has not only addressed the area's critical workforce development issues, but also provided invaluable opportunity for high school students who may not otherwise be given a chance.
It is a model that can extend across the state and stretch across industry, building students more varied paths to success and helping overcome the inequities that may hold them back in their communities and schools throughout Tennessee.
"It's given me the opportunity to go to college," Simmons said as she took a short break from her schoolwork for the day. "I don't really come from a very rich family so having the ability to save up a couple thousand dollars for school is a tremendous help." "