CMT Empowering Education Concert Tour makes a stop at Jena High School

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"It's a lost art, I mean it really is," said CLTCC Welding Instructor Ashley Boyd.

With a push to pursue four year colleges, Boyd said technical career fields in the U.S. are decreasing.

"We are losing our basic soft skills of what we grew up with," Boyd said. "Ya know, working with our hands."

That's where Country Music Television's (CMT) Empowering Education Tour comes in.

CMT and rising country star Courtney Cole partnered with the Louisiana Community and Tech Colleges System, and Louisiana Calling to create a campaign to raise awareness about career training and higher education in the state.

"It helps you to be able to take the next step," Cole said. "Like you have to have your education to get most any job."

A Louisiana native, Cole is excited to travel to eight colleges in her home state this month to help students get career ready.

"I'm such a believer in it," Cole said. "My education is what helped me take that next step in my career, and so I just want to push that at all cost."

CLTCC's Rod Brady Campus in Jena was selected, but decided to hold the concert at Jena High School to reach students earlier.

Students from Harrisonburg High School and LaSalle High School participated as well.

"If you talk to CLEDA and some of our other stakeholders, they say that 75 percent of careers in Central Louisiana will require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four year degree," said CLTCC Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle.

Sawtelle said workforce training is paramount in Louisiana.

"Shreveport to New Orleans, from Lake Charles to Monroe, it's across our great state that a two year education will get you a career, making high wage in a high demand field," Sawtelle said.

After touring CLTCC's facility, some students are open minded.

"I'm actually surprised, I didn't realize what really it was about," said Harrisonburg High School Senior Addison Edwards.

"To me, it's always been a four year university, that is all I've been taught," said Harrisonburg High School Senior Christian Carter. "So, just getting to see a community college helps."

Boyd said he hopes this concert tour helps put their campus on the map.

"We are one of the smallest in the state," Boyd said. "We really struggled to get her here because I think this kind of exposure is really going to bring light to us."

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