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Partnership between Ford, schools is great

The future of education in the Miss-Lou got a tune-up Tuesday afternoon in the form of a unique public-private partnership.

Natchez-Adams School Board members approved a request for a new scholarship program for 12th grade students who aspire to be a certified Ford technician.

Natchez Ford owner Brad Yarbrough and Fallin Career and technology Center Principal Cleveland Moore will be working together to provide students with training that could lead to high-paying secure jobs.

The new program promises not only to help Natchez Ford fill its need for technicians, but also offers students who are not headed to college another alternative viable career path.

Natchez Ford plans to reimburse students for tuition for those who graduate with an associate’s degree and Ford technician certification from Delgado Community College in New Orleans, as long as the students maintain a 2.0 grade-point average. 

Yarbrough told the school board Tuesday that Ford technicians at Natchez Ford earn $19 per hour as their starting pay. Top mechanics with as little as five years of experience could make between $80,000 and $100,000, Yarbrough said.

All too often, high school students are being made to believe that college is the only path to prosperity and that the Miss-Lou offers few career alternatives.

The new commitment between Natchez Ford and the Natchez-Adams School District will go a long way to disprove such thinking and has the potential to demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships.

The new program may not just be a tune-up for the school system, it could also help rev-up the future local economy, too.