New Free Workforce Pathways for High School Students
High school students are now a fixture on the campus of Beaufort County Community College, with many of them taking advantage of a program called Career and College Promise (CCP) to earn college credit for free while they are still enrolled in high school. Since not everyone plans to pursue careers that require a bachelor’s degree, CCP has a new program for students who want to earn a workforce credential. BCCC will host a Career and College Promise Information Night on February 26 at 6:30 p.m. in Building 12 to explain both programs to parents and students.
“Employers in today’s workforce are facing a skills gap,” said Stacey Gerard, VP of Continuing Education. “A high number of retirements mean they need new trained, qualified and innovative workers to fill positions in the medical, home repair and transportation fields.”
The CCP Workforce Pathways are designed for eligible high school juniors and seniors to earn industry-recognized credentials. Last year, North Carolina added the workforce pathways to the innovative statewide program to bring young people into these fields.
Students at Beaufort, Hyde and Washington County Schools, along with Washington Montessori, can choose between five pathways: emergency medical technician (EMT), heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) technician, commercial driver’s license (CDL) truck driving and phlebotomy technician. An additional pharmacy technician pathway is available to students at Washington Montessori, and Beaufort and Hyde County Schools. A nurse aide pathway is open to students at Hyde County Schools, Washington Montessori and the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center. A phlebotomy technician works in a clinical setting, drawing blood for analysis or donation.
Currently, BCCC has nine students already taking classes: four in EMT, three in pharmacy tech, one in nurse aide and one in HVAC. Braedon Burbage took the EMT pathway while still enrolled at Northside High School. He participated in the evening class with students of different ages and experiences. After taking the class last fall, Burbage passed his state certification exam, but had to wait until he turned 18 to start working in the profession. He plans to work at Washington Fire and Rescue after graduation.
“While it’s amazing that Braedon will graduate high school and start working immediately, this program can be ideal for college bound students as well,” said Gerard. “Imagine if instead of waiting tables during summer break, a college student could work in HVAC or as a pharmacy tech. This can provide a higher income and give them a certification to fall back on.”
Students will be responsible for purchasing textbooks and paying local course fees associated with the course. CCP Workforce Pathway courses do not count as a high school credit towards graduation. Students can remain a part of their high school student body and participate in athletics, clubs and activities along with their high school classmates. They participate in classes with other BCCC students either on campus, on-line, broadcast via the Information Highway and, in some cases, on a high school campus.
High school counselors and BCCC liaisons guide students through eligibility requirements and administer a placement test to demonstrate college readiness. These liaisons will be on hand during the informational session to help answer individual questions after a presentation about the advantages and requirements of the program.