By Dr. Anthony Parker, Albany Tech
In less than two weeks, we will notice caution lights requiring us to slow to 25 mph as we enter school zones. Large yellow vehicles will begin to deliver young people to schools. Some of those who rode the buses last year are looking for work, attempting to join the military, or planning to enter college.
Unfortunately, too many of these recent high school graduates will seek employment and learn that they do not have the skillset to be employed above minimum wage. Others will start college, whether a two- or four-year, with zero credits toward graduation.
On the other side, we have some high school graduates who will be able to enter the workforce immediately after high school in a rewarding field at a competitive salary. These same students may be graduates of programs such as Culinary Arts, Diesel, Automotive, Cosmetology, and many others.
The two groups of high school graduates are likely separated only by the attainment of a college degree, or certification during high school. The fact is that dual enrolled high school graduates are more likely to begin rewarding careers at 18 years old at a competitive wage.
The Georgia Move On When Ready program equips graduates with an option to work full- or part-time as well-paid technicians while they move on to earn their bachelor’s degree at the same time. High school dual enrolled graduates can reduce the time to earn a bachelor’s degree by up to two years.
How many of our region’s high school seniors will earn a college degree by 2020? The answer is directly related to the number of freshmen, sophomore, and juniors who dual enroll during the fall of this year. There is few, if any, direct cost to the parents of dual enrolled high school students. It’s not too late, or too difficult to get them started.
Together, we can get our high school students ready for the workforce today.
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