Gov. Jack Markell announced a new program that will help prepare high school students for jobs in the manufacturing sector.

The newly-established Accelerated Career Paths program will allow juniors and seniors to take manufacturing classes and earn certification upon high school graduation.

The initiative is being developed through a partnership with Delaware Technical Community College and the Delaware Manufacturing Association. As part of the two-year program, students will split their time between their high school classrooms and hands-on training at Del Tech.

Additionally, real-world work opportunities will be available for students in the summer. Students from William Penn High School and Delcastle High School are currently participating in the pilot program.

“We assume good jobs require a traditional degree, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Markell said during the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Legislative Brunch and Manufacturing Conference. “Just as we provide specialized coursework for students transitioning to college, this program provides similar opportunities for those choosing an accelerated career path.”

Markell added that manufacturing jobs provide good wages and make up about 40 percent of U.S. output and employment.