OBERLIN — While more Lorain County students are earning college credits toward associate degrees while in high school, the Lorain County Joint Vocational School and Lorain County Community College are teaming up to bring an innovative new program to the area that will focus on getting students more technical degrees.
The Lorain County JVS announced Wednesday morning one of the first collaborations of its kind in Ohio that will pave the way for its students to earn college credits in four career-technical pathways.
JVS Superintendent Glenn Faircloth and LCCC President Marcia Ballinger announced the new Career and College Advantage program to be housed on the JVS campus. The program gives JVS students the opportunity to earn a year’s worth of college credits — up to 30 credits — from LCCC that goes toward an associate degree in high-demand technical fields before leaving high school.
Faircloth said it gives him goosebumps thinking about how revolutionary the collaboration is to the county and state.
“What a wonderful thing to do in our county, we just simply combine our resources, combine our efforts and our intellectual teams,” he said.
Tracy Green, LCCC’s vice president of strategic and institutional development, said the program is taking the same model and same legislation that made College Credit Plus possible and applying it to technical career pathways.
“These students are essentially earning four things: college credit, an industry-recognized credential, work experience through internships with local employers and a high school diploma all while in high school,” she said. “And these are in some of the highest job-growth areas in Lorain County.”
College Credit Plus, or CCP as it is known in high school across Lorain County, was written into the Ohio Revised Code as a way to provide a wide variety of options to college-ready students. Local college and universities partner with school districts to provide courses and instructors, sometimes ensuring high school teachers are certified to teach college classes.
“But this is typically for college credit toward an associate’s of arts or associate’s of science degree. Now, we are doing it in a career technical field,” Green said. “This is very early with few institutions taking this route. …This is really because there is a change in legislation related to high school graduation requirements. … This program allows students to have something of value that they can take with them to get a job in the field and hopefully be able to continue to earn and learn.”
The pilot program will include four JVS programs: computerized design and drafting, culinary arts, network communication technology and Project Lead the Way — engineering.
JVS teachers on the JVS campus will instruct students in these programs. JVS and LCCC have approved the teachers to teach at the collegiate level. These students will have a high school course schedule that will allow them to have up to 30 college credits by the time they graduate.
In addition, students enrolled in eight additional JVS programs including allied health sciences, bakery and pastry, carpentry, education, heating and air conditioning, precision machine technology, sports, health and fitness, and welding will be eligible to take college classes to earn between 15 and 20 credits through LCCC’s College Credit Plus program.
In the future, Ballinger and Faircloth said they hope the program can reach their goal of having every program give students the opportunity to earn 30 credits.
In addition to earning credits toward degrees or certification, Faircloth said the program also can save students more than $5,000 of the cost of an associate degree.
Kelly Zelesnik, dean of engineering, business and information technologies at LCCC, said the program will be a great addition to her school of learning.
“When classes are delivered, students know their getting quality from both organizations.