It is Community College Month once again and it is my pleasure to highlight the role Glen Oaks Community College plays in our community. In the past year, more than 1,600 students have completed credit coursework and another 500 have participated in specialized training for employees of area companies. Within the credit student population more than 800 are high school dual enrollment and early middle college students making up 50% of our students each semester.
The enrollment of our local high school students in such high numbers is saving their families thousands of dollars and giving students a significant head start on their education. The early middle college students complete their associate degrees following the “thirteenth grade” at GOCC. All of these students may then transfer to a four-year institution with junior status and significant savings.
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) dual enrollment students earn their credits in their selected fields including: graphic design, computer aided design, automotive technology, medical occupations, information technology, marketing, ag, and welding. These will apply toward their GOCC certificate or degree and may be transferred to a receiving institution in their field. These students also realize considerable savings.
All of this enrollment of high school students would not be possible without the support of our county schools. While the State provides for the dual enrollment process it still requires the individual schools to support the students with tuition. The strong relationship between GOCC and each school district makes it all work.
The GOCC career programs as well as the specialized non-credit training help to provide local employers with the workers they need. These areas range from allied health and nursing to business to the trades and I.T. Again, some of these students begin this education while still in high school. The economic viability of our region depends on skilled workers on an ongoing basis.
The voters of St. Joseph County began investing in their community college in 1965 and the results have paid great dividends since classes opened in 1967. This bold step on behalf of now three generations of students has provided significant value for these students changing lives and improving communities.