Governor Launches Senior Class Tour to Help Students Transition to College or Career

New Castle, DE – Addressing William Penn High School’s senior class, Governor Markell kicked off a year-long effort by his administration to ensure Delaware’s Class of 2015 has access to information and resources that will help them pursue the best educational opportunities and career training programs after they graduate.

Governor Markell address the senior class of William Penn High School.
Governor Markell addresses the senior class of William Penn High School.

The effort started today with the beginning of a statewide tour of high schools to speak with seniors about the importance of continuing their education and training beyond next spring to reach their potential in today’s economy.

Markell was joined by Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, who outlined state initiatives that provide assistance with the process of searching for, applying to, and obtaining financial aid from colleges. Delaware Technical Community College President Mark Brainard also addressed additional opportunities available to gain professional certifications that would help the students enter and advance in the workforce.

“Sixty percent of the jobs available in our workforce require some kind of education or training beyond high school. And for good-paying, fast-growing fields where more jobs are becoming available – fields ranging from cybersecurity, high tech manufacturing to nursing – that number is a lot higher than 60 percent,” said Markell.

“So our point is simple: a high school diploma is still valuable and an achievement to celebrate, but it’s not enough for our students to maximize their abilities. They will have the best chance to reach their potential if we make the most of their educational opportunities when they leave here, and the state of Delaware will make the most of our collective potential if they are successful.”

Governor Markell visited the senior class of Concord High School.
Governor Markell visited the senior class of Concord High School.

The senior class tour, which continued at Concord High School later Tuesday morning, builds on partnerships started in the past year, including an effort by the state and the College Board to ensure all students who have shown they can succeed in college apply and attend.

College Opportunities

That initiative continues this year, when college-ready seniors will again receive information on college affordability and financial aid, materials to help them choose colleges, and, if eligible, application-fee waivers, which have traditionally been complicated to obtain. Later in the year, each high school will host College Application month, during which students will fill out their applications in computer labs and write college application essays during English class. Another program assists families with filling out the FAFSA form, individual school aid forms, and scholarship applications. The effort is possible because of volunteers from employers and college campuses throughout the state.

Last year, for the first time on record, every college-ready student in Delaware who was on track to graduate from high school applied.

“We can’t allow our students to believe the opportunities they have earned aren’t possible because further education is going to cost too much, or something else is standing in their way,” said Murphy. “We’re urging them and their families to work with us and with the great faculty and guidance staff at their schools because we will ensure they have the resources and continuous support to deal with challenges.”

Career Opportunities

The state has also strengthened its partnership with Delaware Tech, including through a new effort with the Delaware Manufacturing Association to start a two-year comprehensive program in manufacturing technologies for high school juniors and seniors. The program allows students to receive nationally recognized advanced manufacturing certificates, in addition to a high school diploma and some college credits. Brainard discussed ways students can pursue these types of credentials after they graduate.

“Delaware Tech is partnering with the state, and with our schools and districts, to provide all Delaware students with education and training to help them succeed, and to ensure that our businesses have access to the talent they need to thrive,” said Brainard.  “In addition to high quality academic programs, for some of our high school students, a specialized certification program is the best next step, and we must be committed to providing opportunities that align with employer needs and available jobs.”

Stops on the Governor’s tour of senior classes over the next seven days will include:

DOVER AREA – Wednesday, September 3

8:30 a.m. – Dover High School

9:15 a.m. – Caesar Rodney High School

WILMINGTON AREA – Friday, September 5

9:30 a.m. – Howard High School

10:30 a.m. – A.I. DuPont High School

SUSSEX COUNTY – Monday, September 811:30 a.m. –  Sussex Central High School

12:30 p.m. – Sussex Tech High School

MIDDLETOWN – Tuesday, September 91:15 p.m. – Middletown High School

During the opening weeks of the school year, either the Governor or a representative from the Department of Education will connect with every high school in the state to support seniors in their transition to college and career.

Photos from the event