News roundup: Louisiana gets $2M grant to strengthen career education … LSU online degree programs get high national rankings … US cancels two final energy leases in area sacred to Blackfoot tribes

    New pathways: Louisiana is one 10 states to receive a three-year, $2 million grant from the Council of Chief State School Officers and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to strengthen and expand career education. The funds are from phase two of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth grant program. Louisiana will use the money to expand Jump Start, the state’s career and technical education program. In a statement, State Superintendent of Education John White says the grant will enable the state to build upon Jump Start’s foundation, expanding opportunities and resources that allow students to earn the industry credentials they need to attain employment. Louisiana launched the Jump Start program in 2014. Since that time, Louisiana education and industry leaders have collaborated to develop 47 Jump Start graduation pathways for students. The phase two grant follows an initial $100,000 grant award Louisiana received in March.

    By the numbers: LSU is receiving national recognition for online programs that offer degrees in construction management and business. According to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Online Programs rankings, the LSU Online MS in construction management program is ranked No. 8 among public colleges and universities and ranked No. 11th overall of the 65 programs listed on the ranking. The online program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education and offers a mix of construction, business management and leadership courses. In addition, the LSU Online Flores MBA Program is tied for No. 38 among public colleges and universities, and is tied for No. 47 overall on the list of 239 ranked programs. The online MBA program continues to move up the U.S. News & World Report list, tying for No. 75 among public institutions and No. 105 overall in 2016. Read the full announcement.

    On sacred ground: Following the cancellation of an oil and gas lease Baton Rouge-based Solenex had on sacred land, U.S. officials on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the final two oil and gas leases in a wilderness area bordering Glacier National Park. The Associated Press reports the land is sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of Montana and Canada, and the cancellations come more than three decades after the tribes said the leases were illegally sold. Lease owners in Nebraska and Texas were notified of the cancellations in a letter from Deputy Interior Secretary Michael Connor and offered refunds of about $30,000 each. The move, however, could result in another potential court challenge for the federal government. Solenex has a pending case against the government after its lease was cancelled in March. Read the full story. 

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