CHICAGO—Back in January this year, 19 Austin Polytech Juniors passed the Compass placement test to earn a spot in the first Career and Technical Education (CTE) dual-credit class in partnership with City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) at Austin Polytechnical Academy (APA) on the Austin Multiplex campus. 16 Austin Polytech students opted to enroll in the class during their Spring Semester of their junior year and we are proud to report all 16 students passed the course.
This is the first year of the CCC and CPS dual-credit partnership with APA. The Manufacturing Connect program, staffed by the local non-profit organization Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) (mfgren.org), has been working with APA since its inception and founding in 2007 to supplement CPS’s CTE courses with expanded work-based learning experiences, including: multiple paid internships, job shadows, soft-skills training, career and college coaching, fieldtrips and opportunities to meet and network with local manufactures. Program completers have opportunities and support to pursue career and/or college opportunities in the engineering and manufacturing sector and beyond upon high school graduation.
Manufacturing Connect staff, funded by the US Department of Labor’s Youth Career Connect grant, worked closely with CPS and CCC staff to make the dual-credit class a reality. Taught by CCC-qualified instructor, MR’s Pablo Varela, all 16 students passed the 111 Machining Processes course. Each student earned at least one nationally-recognized industry credential and 3 college credits.
The students were excited to receive their first college transcript last week at the end of the semester. “I never thought I would have a college transcript as a junior in high school!” exclaimed, Jervon Adams. Because Jervon received an “A” in his dual-credit course, he starts his college transcript with a 4.0 g.p.a. When students were asked if they were ready for more, they all jumped at the chance to take the next placement test to secure their spot in the senior-level course that will be programmed for next year.
“I feel even more certain of my ability to do well in college because I have proof in my first college course I have taken”, chimed Azariah Hutchinson, who also received an “A” in her dual-credit class. Azariah, with the assistance of Manufacturing Connect, will be working for PK Tool, a local manufacturing company this summer. During her interview with PK’s HR Manager she shared this major accomplishment when asked if she was going to college after she graduated high school, “Yes and I already have 3 college credits that I have earned while in my high school manufacturing program,” needless to say the HR Manager was quite impressed.
What is really impressive is that this group of young people will be able to earn a total of 6 credit hours (2 college classes) before they graduate high school next Spring. All 16 Juniors have agreed to continue on with the next dual credit course, 112 Machining Processes II. Recruitment is underway to offer the 111 Machining Processes I class to rising Juniors. This will allow two CTE dual credit courses to be offered at Austin Polytech next school year 2015-2016.