The Technical College of the Lowcountry and the Beaufort County School District recently kicked off a new collaboration to offer career and technical programs through high school dual enrollment.
“A technical career can be for anyone who has an interest, aptitude, and desire to enter a highly skilled occupation,” Beaufort County School District Director of Career and Technical Education Karen Gilbert said in a release.
The new collaboration expands the district’s current career and technical offerings at the high schools, allowing more students to benefit. Dual enrollment students receive both college and high school credit. TCL’s general education courses are already popular with high school students wanting college credit for transfer to four-year universities.
Whale Branch Early College High School has enjoyed a special dual enrollment partnership with TCL for the past eight years. Now Whale Branch students are the first in the school district to pilot the new program.
“This partnership was a natural fit for us to grow our technical offerings for all our students,” WBECHS Principal Mona-Lise Dickson said. “We want our students to be truly college and/or career ready, not only for our local economy but globally. It is truly a celebration to see the vision come to life.”
Building construction is the first career pathway being offered, allowing high school students to take classes onsite at the college where they receive real-world training and hands-on experience.
“Students in our building construction program will learn the skills and tools of the trade, making them more employable and work ready,” instructor Tim Newsome said.
The new dual enrollment offerings will allow more opportunities for students wanting to go right into the workforce or to more advanced technical training right after high school
“Employers need these skilled workers and will be excited about the expanded pipeline this program is creating,” TCL President Dr. Richard Gough said.
Gilbert agrees, “Beaufort County School District dual enrollment students who graduate with a future technical or trades certificate in areas such as Construction, HVAC, Information Technologies, and Healthcare, help our local economy by meeting critical labor market needs.”
Additional career technology dual enrollment programs are in the works including: Heating and air (HVAC), electrician, medical office assistant, culinary arts, computer technology, criminal justice and early childhood development.
Interested high school students and parents are encouraged to contact their high school counselors for more information.