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Bolton High School senior John Tumbasco, 17, was awarded the Platinum Level Career Ready Certificate on Wednesday.

Photo Courtesy of Tia Owens Powers / The Town Talk
Bolton senior earns platinum certificate for career readiness

From The Town Talk 

By: Leigh Guidry

A senior at Bolton High School is the only student in a nine-parish area to obtain the highest level of career readiness in the fall.


John Tumbaco, 17, was one of 655 Central Louisiana students who received a National Career Ready Certificate during the fall of the 2012-13 school year. He was the only one who reached the platinum level.


"It feels pretty great," Tumbaco said. "It means I'm at the highest level of career readiness."

This achievement qualifies a student for 99 percent of the jobs in ACT's database of occupational profiles, said Marjorie Taylor, executive director of the Orchard Foundation, which sponsors the program.


"Employers throughout the nation know that an applicant who has earned the platinum NCRC has the right skills for the job and is ready to go to work now," Taylor said.


Platinum is the highest of four levels that can be achieved on the three WorkKeys assessments given by ACT. Only 1 percent of the industry-recognized certificates awarded nationwide are platinum.


"John's accomplishment is truly exceptional," Taylor said. "This is the highest possible level of achievement. We congratulate John for completing a major first step toward launching a successful and rewarding career."


For getting platinum, Tumbaco will receive $50 and one week of free dress at school, which he said is what he's really excited about.


Tumbaco plans to attend Louisiana Tech University next year and study electrical engineering. But he said he would be prepared to enter the workforce after this class if it was necessary.


Charmelle Joffrion, Bolton business teacher and WorkKeys coordinator, wasn't surprised by Tumbaco's accomplishment.


"He's one of our leaders," Joffrion said. "He's a great student. He's going to be a phenomenal engineer."


With the Cenla Work Ready Network, Central Louisiana high schools are offering the Career Ready 101 courses to prepare students for the NCRC test issued by ACT.


Students take three tests -- reading for information, applied mathematics and locating information.


Tumbaco was one point away from the platinum certificate the first time he took all three tests.

It was the locating information section, which involves interpreting graphs and other data, that held him back before retaking it. But he's not the only one to experience that.


Joffrion said locating information is where most students struggle because so much information comes at them at once.


"It's one of those skill sets we need to develop more," she said.


Joffrion said the WorkKeys curriculum is important in teaching students skills to meet three necessary areas identified by businesses, which make up the three student assessments.

Students also complete 45-minute level lessons on their own.


"Many spend hours outside of school on this," Joffrion said. "Their dedication is refreshing."

She said the program helps both those intending to enter the workforce after graduation as well as those going to college.


"How many in college want to do internships?" Joffrion said. "This is a step to that."

WorkKeys students still have the opportunity to reach platinum this school year. Tests are administered in the fall and spring.


Joffrion expects to see more platinum certificate recipients from Bolton.


"We have some extremely bright kids here at Bolton High School," she said.


Ten Central Louisiana students earned a platinum certificate last year.


Rapides Parish School Board mandated that all seniors take the WorkKeys assessment this school year. Assessment fees are paid for by the Rapides Foundation.