Last updated: August 02. 2014 11:20AM - 670 Views
By - mstrother@civitasmedia.com

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Officials for the THINC College and Career Academy plan to almost triple the amount of students in dual enrollment in the next year as it begins a pilot program.

There are about 38 students in dual enrollment - high school students who take college courses - with most in the certified nursing assistant program at West Georgia Tech, said THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle in a presentation to County Commissioners on Friday. By August 2015, when thINC’s facility opens, its goal is to have at least 100 enrolled in dual enrollment, with additional programs to be available to students this year.

“That is a huge goal, we are working with our education partners to make that happen,” Carlisle said.

The academy will operate as a pilot program within the high schools this school year, including facilitating the dual enrollment and work-based learning programs. High school system students in dual enrollment will attend classes for programs at West Georgia Tech and LaGrange College, and officials are working with Point University for possible dual enrollment programs there.

“Our goal to see our high school students graduate not only with a high school diploma, but a certificate to work from West Georgia Technical College” and others, Carlisle told commissioners. “… So you have a powerhouse here of higher education that will be supporting your students in the public school system, so that when they graduate they are ready to go to college, or they have a certificate so they can go to work, or they can do both.”

The West Georgia Tech location, where THINC will locate in 50,000 square feet of its campus off Orchard Hill Road, will make that process easier, Carlisle said. The board is hoping soon to finalize plans with architect Skip Smith so “hammer and nail” work can begin.

West Georgia Tech also has agreed to apply the lease paid by THINC to Troup County School System dual enrollment students’ tuition, allowing them to attend for free. She said THINC is working on a similar agreement with LaGrange College.

The next big step for THINC officials is working on bringing in working partners to be part of the education process for academy students when the facility opens. Those will be employers in the community that can teach students first-hand the qualities they are looking for in employees.

In the first year of full operation, the academy plans to have 500 students, which will be split between 250 who will attend in the morning and a second group of 250 in the afternoon. The students will attend their regular high schools during the other half of the day.

“Our lofty goal is to have every single student that we have have an employer sponsor on line with their career path,” Carlisle said. “So if their career path is mechatronics, we expect to have an employer as a sponsor and a career mentor throughout their education.”

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