Significant Enrollment Increase in Texarkana College’s Dual Credit Workforce Training Courses Shows Growing Interest in Career Pathways

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At Monday’s board meeting, Texarkana College Trustees learned that area high school students are benefitting now, more than ever, from TC’s dual credit courses offered in workforce and technical training programs. For Fall 2022, enrollment in these courses is up by 66.5% in head count, and 74% in contact hours from 2021. Data shows that more than 540 students from fourteen regional independent school districts are enrolled in a dual credit workforce training course. TC president Dr. Jason Smith said that there is a growing interest statewide on the need for high school students to be college and career ready upon high school graduation.

“Addressing the need to better prepare students for success in their careers is at the center of attention on the state and local level with law and policy makers, educators, parents and students alike,” said Smith. “As a participant in dual credit courses while in high school, students can simultaneously receive credit from both their high school and an institution of higher education- typically a community college. This gives a student a head start on completing a college credential and provides them with a greater competitive edge when it comes to employment.”

Smith said dual credit courses are offered by TC in both core academic subjects and career training programs. However, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of learning skills that lead to jobs in high-demand occupations in fields including industrial trades, welding, automotive, construction, culinary, and cosmetology.

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“More and more high school counselors and advisors are encouraging students to enroll in technical programs that prepare them for entering the workforce and earning good wages,” said Smith. “We hear from our business and industry partners every day that they need skilled employees who are ready to go to work. When a high school student starts early to gain experience and skills in a technical field, they have just provided themselves with a pathway for career success. Whether their goal is to immediately enter the workforce after graduation, or to continue with their education, their base of knowledge provides a foundation for life.”

Smith said Brandon Washington, TC’s Dean of Workforce and Community Education, works with area school districts to support expansion of technical training programs on their campus.

“We have seen several area school districts apply for grants to expand their campus technical instructional sites,” said Washington. “School districts are also employing more instructors who meet the credentials and who have the industry experience to teach dual credit courses on their high school campuses. For some training programs, high school students ride a bus over to the TC campus to participate in class alongside traditional college students. These opportunities provide students with real-world experiences and access to industry-specific training tools and environments.”

For more information about dual credit courses and admissions visit https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/admissions-aid/apply/dual-credit/.

In other business, TC Trustees heard a report from Dean of Students Robert Jones regarding the upswing in student activities on campus.

“An abundance of student life activities has returned to TC campus this fall and students are loving the interaction with classmates and getting plugged in,” said Jones. “We have a packed calendar of events over the next few months that include celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Fall Fest with over thirty community and campus organizations set up in the center of campus for students to explore, a Halloween bash and costume contest, book discussions in the library, workshops to help students manage test anxiety, and several music programs. In addition, our students, faculty, and staff are participating in a ‘Thanksgiving in a Box” food drive through the TC Food Bank to support families in need during the holidays.”

Jones said the campus is full of opportunities to join clubs, get involved, and find academic support to provide a healthy balance of school and engaging extra-curricular activities.

“TC has more than 30 clubs and organizations that students can join,” said Jones. “Anything from intramural sports, gaming club, Black Student Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, student government, and more, there is something for everyone!”

To find out more about student life at TC, visit https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/student-life/clubs-organizations/.

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