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International skills are focus of new diploma seal

FORSYTH COUNTY — High school seniors who graduate in spring will be the first class to have the option to earn a new diploma seal offered by the state.

Georgia is offering the International Skills Diploma Seal to graduates who demonstrate a strong interest in international business and policy, making it one of just three states (North Carolina and Wisconsin) to offer a global competence/readiness seal or certificate to this age group.

The seal will serve as a signal to employers that students have engaged in courses and out-of-school activities that foster global competencies.

According to the state, schools and districts have received information on the program and will share it with eligible students.

In Forsyth County Schools, this program will be added to the 10 diploma seals currently available if high school students complete at least three career pathway courses before graduating, according to Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the school district.

The seal is one of several programs in the Educating Georgia’s Future Workforce initiative through the state, which is aimed at increasing the Georgia’s focus on career education and expanding partnerships with the business community.

Citing today’s economy, Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement that it is “more important than ever students are prepared to participate in the global work force.”

“The [seal] will recognize students who engage in international education through courses, extracurricular activities and service opportunities,” he said.

“It’s an honor for the student and a signal for employers and universities that this student is ready to participate at a global level.”

To be awarded the seal, students must complete:

* At least three credits in the same world language and/or ESOL

* At least four credits of coursework with an international focus, including, for example, international economics, world/non-U.S. history, world geography or comparative literatures

* At least four extracurricular activities and experiences with global themes and/or in global contexts including, for example, exchange programs or international and language clubs

* 20 hours of community service involving a global/cross-cultural public service project, including, for example, fundraising for an international nonprofit organization

* A capstone presentation

“The requirements to receive the [seal] will help provide students with skills that are necessary to be successful in today’s work environment,” said Michaela Claus-Nix, Georgia Department of Education program specialist for world languages and work force initiatives.

“These are all essential soft skills needed in any career in the interconnected business world.”