Baton Rouge education leaders report on progress of ‘Capital Area Promise’


BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC Local 33) (FOX 44) — Education leaders across the Capital City area converged on the Main Library to discuss the Capital Area Promise, an initiative launched in 2018 to streamline college opportunities for primarily, students enrolled in secondary education.

The progress report revealed some promising results.

Area higher education leaders in attendance included LSU President F. King Alexander, Southern University President Ray Belton and Baton Rouge Community College Interim Chancellor Willie Smith. Other presenters included East Baton Rouge School Superintendent Warren Drake and City of Baton Rouge Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Ravare- Jones.

“It is an absolute necessity that every kid has the opportunity to choose to go to college,” said King.

The Capital Area Promise mirrors an initiative started by King in 2008, when he served as president of California State University, Long Beach.

“It’s raising awareness that colleges are available to them,” said King, “whether it’s Southern, BRCC, LSU or other institutions.”

Willie Smith has served as the interim chancellor with Baton Rouge Community College since July. He said he is honored to have the opportunity to work alongside higher education leader like King and Belton.

“I learned that it’s not just about having a mission for our own institution, but how we can work collaboratively on improving the work skills and pathway for students across the state,” said Smith as he spoke with NBC Local 33.

King reiterated two statistics that he felt demonstrated the success of the Capital Area Promise while speaking with a reporter from the station. “In the last two years, we’ve seen a 16% increase in enrollment from East Baton Rouge school systems students coming to campus,” said King.

He then added, “We’ve seen a 5% increase in two-plus-two transfers coming from BRCC.”

Organizers behind the daily operations of the program say they’re now working on on-boarding more parish school districts, bringing in charter schools and getting area businesses to provide internship opportunities to high school students.

If you would like to get involved with the program, either as an individual or through your business, the following opportunities exist:

  • Bring students to your company/business,
  • Volunteer at a school,
  • Provide internships for high school students,
  • Promote college and career readiness in school projects,
  • Encourage seniors to complete the FAFSA,
  • Offer training to educators on workforce needs,
  • Establish or support scholarship efforts,
  • Increase dual enrollment opportunities,
  • Sponsor a CAP program,
  • Support ACT or SAT programs in the community,
  • Consider WorkKeys credentials in hiring,
  • Get involved as a parent or mentor.

For more information, including how you can take the pledge, visit

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