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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi business leaders will start honoring graduating high school students choosing technical careers.

The Mississippi Economic Council announced Wednesday that it would sponsor a new “tech master” program that would recognize graduating high school seniors who meet certain standards in a technical curriculum.

The program will run in parallel with the existing Mississippi Scholars program, in which MEC recognizes high school seniors who hit certain standards in a college preparatory curriculum.

Irwin Edenzon, outgoing president of Pascagoula’s Ingalls Shipbuilding, says business leaders agreed on the standards, including a 2.5 grade-point average, a minimum score of 18 on the ACT college test, and passing a career certification test.

Edenzon says Ingalls needs more qualified applicants and his company will give preference to tech master graduates in the hiring process.e

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