Jefferson County Public Schools has announced a partnership with Ford Motor Company Foundation to help the district improve its career-themed schools.

Louisville is one of 17 school districts nationwide participating in Ford’s Next Generation Learning initiative. The program includes a network of districts restructuring their career-themed schools to improve student outcomes and to prepare students for college and career readiness.

Ford will work with JCPS teachers in five of the district’s 15 career themed-schools to develop partnerships with local businesses and will emphasize tracking data for individual students.

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens says the initiative also means more collaboration, which may include interdisciplinary projects.

“You put a regular ed teacher with a career and technical education teacher, like for instance a science teacher and a welding teacher and they actually teach together,” she says.

Groups of students will take classes together, which will allow those students the chance to work on the same project in more than one class, officials say. 

Hargens says she expects a long-term five-year plan for the district’s partnership with Ford to be developed in the fall and the program may expand to more schools if successful.