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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Some Omaha business, labor and education leaders are trying to persuade school districts to pool resources into a regional center where high school students from across the metro area could learn technical and career skills.

The Career Consortium USA group has been working for several years to launch the regional career center project, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The idea is still largely conceptual, but the goal is to provide access to more classes so that students could get a head-start on college, a skill certification or a steady job right out of high school.

Pooling resources could help school districts afford more expensive equipment and avoid duplication.

The group envisions a half-day program where juniors and seniors could still get a traditional high school experience. Students would be able to choose form 24 career paths, including health sciences and nursing, engineering, transportation, culinary and construction. Local businesses could provide equipment, internships and other opportunities, such as job-shadowing.

Some critics of the proposal have said that local high schools already offer some career and technical classes.

A single district would run the center and a board of superintendents would govern it, according to the group.

The group of local leaders is trying to get local superintendents, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Community College and other potential partners on board.

Martha Bruckner, the former Council Bluffs superintendent, said local schools need to unite and share approaches to career and technical education. But Bruckner said she doesn't know enough about the career center proposal to have an opinion.

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Several foundations and donors have promised to help fund the center as long as school districts and businesses back the effort, according to Cliff Levitan, a member of the Career Consortium group.

"Everybody is supportive, but only educators start schools," Levitan said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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