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One of the ways NJBIA has been trying to improve the skills of entry-level workers and making college more affordable is to encourage more partnerships between high schools and colleges. Offering high school students greater opportunities to get college credits in career and technical education courses is a great way to motivate them.

Two new programs in South Jersey are a perfect example of the kind of initiatives we need more of.

Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) is partnering with the Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) to offer students 30 college credits in Electronics Engineering Technology, more than halfway to the credits required for an Associate’s Degree.

Also, RCBC will grant a 25 percent tuition discount to high school students statewide for one of 15 online courses identified as having had excess capacity. The courses are applicable to degrees at RCBC, Rowan University or other colleges.

Get details here.

The separate initiatives are part of RCBC’s new College Head Start in High School, or CH2, initiative aimed to reduce the time and cost required to attain a college degree. CH2 also includes the existing College Acceleration Program (CAP), in which high school students earn college credit through high school instruction, and traditional dual enrollment, by which high school students receive permission to take RCBC courses outside of their regular school day.

NJBIA believes an affordable post-secondary education is critical for the state economy. Colleges and universities help individuals become more likely to be employed, more productive employees and less likely to demand selected public services. Despite the fact New Jersey already touts a highly credentialed population, employers continue to need skilled employees to compete in our 21st Century global economy.

Dual enrollment programs like this one are a great way to reduce redundancy in education and reward student learning. These programs directly reduce the time and the tuition cost to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and are growing in popularity at many comprehensive and vocational high schools. According to the U.S. Department of Education, dual enrollment programs have shown to increase the chances of high school completion, college enrollment, and degree attainment for students from low-income backgrounds.

In New Jersey, NJBIA worked with the Legislature and Governor Chris Christie to encourage more partnerships with high schools and higher education institutions. Signed into law in December 2014, S-2226/A-3338 (P.L.2014, c.74) require all public colleges and universities to enter into at least one dual enrollment agreement with a comprehensive or vocational school district. We would encourage our more than 40 colleges and universities in New Jersey to expand their dual enrollment offerings.

Education & Workforce Development News

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