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Kickstart to Careers: Dual Enrollment at CLTCC

Students can save time, money by taking courses while still in high school
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 7:02 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - All this week Rachael Penton and photojournalist Ben Gauthier highlight ways for students to “Kickstart their Careers.”

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is working with local high schools - including Tioga High that we’ve featured all this week - to help high school students get started on a career early. The college credits students earn can be used towards their high school diploma and certification or two-year degree at CLTCC.

Logan Cloud is a University Academy student dual-enrolled at CLTCC in the advanced manufacturing program, his goal is to own his own machine shop one day.

“Too much emphasis is put on four-year degrees, on college,” said Cloud. “You can make the same or more money coming here and doing this.”

After taking some college courses in high school Cloud decided pursuing a four-year degree wasn’t part of his passion.

“I enjoyed it. I really did, but I just didn’t feel like it was for me and what I wanted to do.....ever since I started I’ve loved it,” Cloud added.

The dual-enrollment program is just one more way Central Louisiana high school students can kickstart their careers.

“Some of them do well enough to go straight to work,” said welding instructor Mike Stuchlik.

Stuchlik said the students he teaches are more interested in the hands-on learning that comes with the trade industry.

Stuchlik said with enough dedication they can begin working in a high-demand field right after high school or go on to pursue more advanced skills at CLTCC.

“You know not everyone is cut out for college,” said Stuchlik. “It’s a good opportunity. They pay good money nowadays. It’s a great career. I’ve done it for over 30 years and I absolutely love it.”

Campus dean Lisa Doney said one of the benefits of dual-enrollment is for students to explore their interests before committing to a career.

“They can kind of see, is this really for them? Going into healthcare, going into welding, all these different pathways that our high schools offer, that we also offer,” said Doney.

According to Doney, some may choose a career right away and begin working, while others may use their skills as a temporary job before they do go onto higher education.

“They can be assured that if they do well in their program and they learn what they need to learn. They’ll be able to get out. They’ll be able to get a job with good pay,” said Doney.

Back over at Tioga High School, where many of their students are dual-enrolled at CLTCC, Career and Technical Education lead Ramona Riddick says another bonus to her students exploring the dual enrollment is that many of them decide on career paths that will lead them to jobs right here at home.

“It’s our responsibility that our kids are learning what they need to be able to stay here in Central Louisiana,” said Riddick.

The college courses high school students take are free to the students, which helps lower the amount of time and money spent after high school. If a student decides to pursue a four-year degree, some of the credits can be applied.

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