High school students can do more than knock out some early college credit in core subjects such as English and history these days. A new workforce development center in Friendsville can position them well on their way to earning a degree before they pick up a high school diploma.
An open house Thursday, Jan. 26, at Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County campus will highlight the courses available through both it and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
Students who start dual enrollment classes their junior year can finish high school with only a year of classes left to earn a associate’s degree in some programs, explained Spencer Joy, a dual enrollment specialist at Pellissippi State for more than a decade.
The state’s Dual Enrollment Grant program, funded through the Tennessee Lottery, can cover the cost of up to five classes for eligible students, and Joy explained additional funding is available for students who commit to a program of study.
The open house at the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center will highlight opportunities in high-demand fields, such as nursing, welding and cyber defense, as well as funding.
“The ultimate goal would be to have students on the path to complete half the program while they’re still in high school,” Joy said.
So, for example, current sophomores should be looking at dual enrollment classes starting this fall, their junior year.
Pellissippi State has the second largest dual enrollment participation in the state, Joy said.
But among its 1,096 dual enrollment students last fall, only 182 were from high schools in Blount County.
“There’s definitely room to grow,” Joy said, in both numbers participating and the diversity of the courses they take, going beyond general education requirements such as statistics and psychology.
Some dual enrollment courses are available at area high schools. For example, Joy said Heritage High School offers criminal justice, statistics and English in partnership with Pellissippi State and had 72 dual enrollment students in the fall.
However, he also noted the benefit of giving students the experience not only of doing college-level work but also having an experience on a college campus.
The education and business leaders who worked together through the Blount Partnership to bring the workforce development center to the Pellissippi State campus also are working to remove any barriers to attendance, such as transportation.
Registration for the open house is recommended but not required. For more information or to register call 865-694-6400 or email email@example.com.