Hometown recruiting program good for kids and community

Ask a teenager what he or she wants to be when they grow up, and you’re likely to hear a variety of responses: teacher, lawyer, social worker, doctor. Maybe even president of the United States.

Kids start thinking about their futures at an early age.

While their aspirations are changeable, by high school many teenagers already have a sense of the direction they want their professional lives to take. But they often need guidance and sometimes the proper motivation to begin pursuing their dreams.

That’s what a partnership between the Arlington Police Department, Arlington school district and University of Texas at Arlington aims to provide.

The “Hometown Recruiting Program,” announced Wednesday, will offer students who decide to pursue a college degree and are considering a future in law enforcement an opportunity to get a head start on their career.

Qualified participants in the program will be able to earn up to nine hours of college credit toward a bachelor’s degree at UTA and gain experience through enrollment in an AISD senior police academy course that will provide foundational lessons in public safety and law.

Program graduates who consider becoming a police officer in their hometown will also receive a guaranteed interview with the department upon completion of their degree.

The shift toward expanding career-oriented and technical education opportunities for high school students through dual enrollment and early certification is an integral part of AISD’s education strategy and a key component of its May 10 bond election.

The district has proposed adding classroom capacity and expanding partnerships with local entities to ensure that more students graduate ready for jobs or to further their training and education.

For students who are driven and willing to make a commitment to the law enforcement profession, Hometown Recruiting provides the right motivation. It gives them a leg up without locking them into a profession should their motivation change.

And for the Police Department, building a competitive homegrown candidate pool will vastly benefit the greater community.

Looks like a win-win for Arlington.