DCA initiative aims to build future of industry
August 07, 2014
The pilot program for the Diamond Council of America’s Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative took place at Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Ga., which is part of the metro Atlanta area, during the 2013-2014 school year.
Nashville, Tenn.--The Diamond Council of America is launching a new program to drum up interest in the jewelry industry for a new generation by making its classes available to high school students and link graduates with employers.
The DCA’s Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative licenses high schools to offer classes that incorporate DCA courses, and introduces the participants to multiple aspects of the jewelry industry, from courses in diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry sales, to industry speakers and hands-on projects.
Under the program, school districts join DCA as associate members, where they will pay annual fees for membership and the right to use DCA’s courses. Once a district is licensed, the schools within it can choose any of the DCA’s regular courses and enroll as many students as they’d like.
To get started at a new school, a teacher must first complete one of the DCA courses, and then use it for teaching one or more classes of students. Students will learn lessons and work with support materials in an online format.
After successfully completing a course from the DCA and passing the exam, students will receive a certificate. They also have the option of being added to the JCR Initiative database, which will act like a “permanent referral service,” the DCA said.
Once a student is in the database, there are two ways in which it can be used: if the student applies for a job, he or she can authorize prospective employers to have access to the records, or if a potential employer is seeking candidates and a student already has given permission, DCA can provide his or her name and contact information to the employer.
To help grow the JCR Initiative, DCA has named Suzan Alexander Weir as the point person and representative for the high school initiative. Weir has more than 20 years of experience in the jewelry industry, is diamond- and colored gemstone-certified by the DCA and holds a graduate gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America.
The pilot program for the initiative, which took place at Woodstock High School in Georgia, graduated 52 students during the 2013-2014 school year, and “responses from everyone connected with the program--students, teachers, and administrators--were overwhelmingly positive,” Weir said.
This year, she will begin an effort to launch and grow the program starting with the state of Georgia, identifying, contacting, and making presentations to district school boards and administrators.
DCA President and CEO Terry Chandler said that he believes the JCR initiative “will help ensure the future of (the jewelry) industry” as it sparks interest in young people and creates a fresh flow of sales people. The program also has proven to be a new way to get jewelers involved in their community, according to the DCA.