School officials say the partnership centers will allow high school students enrolled in the Early College Program to earn their high school diploma, their associates degree, and certification by the time they graduate. This includes students pursuing careers in construction, criminal justice, welding, and auto repair, and features hands-on experience.
By allowing students to get their diplomas and associates degrees at the same time, educators say it will save students and their families tens of thousands of dollars in tuition costs.
"The state that has the workers," said Career and Technical Center Director Dan Ulrich, "who are credentialed and qualified to do the work in terms of competing for business and industry to come into the state is going to be a step ahead of the state that does not."
"There is currently a skills gap that we need to meet," said State Representative Wendy McNamara. "By being able to do that while they are still in high school is really going to be a great punch in the arm for our economy."
Representative McNamara also says students that are trained here are more likely to stay.
But the accelerated process doesn't come without some serious work. Students enrolled in the program will have to do some Summer school and evening classes.