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SSCC, APS partner to increase dual enrollment opportunities

Shelton State Community College has partnered with Alabama Postsecondary Schools in order to increase dual enrollment rates and opportunities in Demopolis. The courses that are currently offered in the dual-enrollment program allow students from the tenth grade and up to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school.

Both career tech and academic courses are eligible for the dual enrollment program. According to Charles Jones, Regional Workforce Manager for Alabama Postsecondary Schools, students can either earn a certificate through the program and immediately enter the workforce upon graduation, earn credits towards a two-year degree or earn credits towards a four-year degree.

Charles Jones Jr.

Jones said that students can possibly “chop off one whole year of college while in high school” through the dual enrollment program at the former New Era Building. He also said that most students qualify for scholarships, allowing them to not only decrease the time after graduation spent in postsecondary education, but also the overall cost of earning the degree or certificate.

Career tech courses currently being offered in the program are Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAT) and Business Technology Applications (BTA). Academic courses being offered include basic education classes such as English. Jones is looking to add welding to the dual enrollment program soon.

“The goal is to not travel any more than 30 miles to get a college education,” Jones said.

Jones aims to convert high school classes into dual enrollment courses, further decreasing the time students would need to spend in college upon graduation in order to receive a degree. He also has plans to expand the program to other students in the area.

“We hope to offer [the courses] to all high schools in the county and maybe even the surrounding counties,” Jones said.

Jones also mentioned the possibility of the program turning into a campus for Shelton State Community College. To do so would require increasing the number of students participating in and completing the program.

High school seniors planning on entering the workforce upon graduation can earn AWS, NIMWS and NCCER certifications and an OSHA 10 Hour card through dual enrollment.

Additionally, high schoolers can also participate in the Ready-to-Work program, which teaches basic skills that, according to Jones, “are taken for granted.” Such skills include job application completion, resume-building, communication, conflict resolution and basic computer skills.

Jones said that students participating in the dual enrollment program are looking at “90-95 percent” employment rate upon completion of certificate or degree programs with Shelton State Community College. Through the program, Jones believes he is “… training them to make a better job and a better living.”