Dual Enrollment Academy students graduate
WCTC holds first-ever commencement for academy participants

By Alison Fox - Freeman Staff 

June 11, 2014

PEWAUKEE -  State officials came to Waukesha County Technical College Tuesday evening to honor the 40 high school seniors who graduated from the schools Dual Enrollment Academy.

WCTCs Dual Enrollment Academy is a year-long pilot program permitting high school seniors to receive credit from the technical college and their schools at the same time. To be eligible, students must have a minimal 2.0 grade point average, be on track to graduate and meet college entrance requirements

The program has cohorts in tool and die/computer numerical controls (CNC), welding/fabrication and IT networking, which are all industries the school identified as high demand areas. The program is also offered at no cost to the accepted participants.

The 40 students spent their time attending regular classes at their home high schools and attending college level courses at WCTC.

Micah Kordik, a graduate of the academy, was recognized as the most outstanding student in the IT networking cohort. Kordik said he was home-schooled all his life and decided to join the academy to get a jump start on his college career.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to earn college credits while still completing high school, he said. It was also great because Im going to continue my education at WCTC and now I already have about half of my credits completed because I went through the program.

Michael Shiels, dean of the school of applied technologies at WCTC, said the program started last fall and he believes the first year went very well.

The majority of the students are already employed and 100 percent are planning to continue taking college courses in the fields they began studying at the academy, according to Shiels.

Shiels said WCTC worked with local companies to develop the program and has also received support from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  The program also received attention from Gov. Scott Walker, who  promoted it during a stop at the campus last year and during his State of the State address in February. 

Scott Jansen, the director of the DWD Office of Skills Development and administrator of the DWD Division of Employment and Training, made a speech to the new graduates.

Jansen said after graduating from the academy, some students are now labeled as unemployed. He said this is not a bad thing because it means that these students now have the skills and requirements to go out and get employed in their field.

Stephanie Walker, the chief financial officer at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WECD), also spoke at the ceremony. Walker said how important it is for the schools and industries to work together to help make the economy grow within the state of Wisconsin. She said the students worked hard to learn new skills that will help both the students and their future employers succeed.

Dedicating yourself to learn a new skill your senior year of high school is a very challenging thing and the students should be very proud of themselves, Walker said.

www.wctc.edu

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